Mike Ashley sounds out Rafa Benitez over new Newcastle contract

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Mike Ashley wants to tie Rafa Benitez down to a longer-term contract at Newcastle United.

Benitez's deal at St James's Park runs until the end of next season.

And the club are understood to have sounded out the 57-year-old about an extended contract.

However, Benitez, hopeful of a transfer breakthrough ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie against Chelsea, is unwilling to discuss his future during the transfer window.

Benitez refused to discuss his longer-term future ahead of the weekend's game against Manchester City.

Ashley, United's owner, is understood to want Benitez to commit his long-term future to the club, which was put up for sale in October.

The billionaire walked away from talks with would-be buyer Amanda Staveley last week.

Benitez was frustrated at what he felt was a lack of investment in last summer, and he was unhappy at the club's inaction in the first half of this window.

Newcastle's manager will now wait to see if the club is able to bring the players he needs to St James's Park before the January 31 deadline.