Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez addresses speculation linking him with Napoli

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez has insisted he is only talking to Newcastle United amid continuing speculation over his future.

The 58-year-old remains in discussions over a contract extension at St James’s Park with only 12 months of his existing deal left to run.

Owner Mike Ashley is desperate for him to stay, having once again promised him “every penny generated by the club”.

Benitez wants assurances over Ashley’s ambition for the future before committing himself, but amid speculation linking him with former employers Napoli, he’s only focused on Newcastle.

Asked about the link with Napoli, he said: “My future? I’ve heard so much talk, but I haven’t spoken to (Napoli chairman) Aurelio de Laurentiis.

“I have a contract with Newcastle, I’m talking to them about my renewal.

“They made me some offers to stay here for a few more years, plus I have to manage my family.

“When I decided to go to Newcastle and stay there, even in the Championship, it was also because of my family.

“My priority is to stay in England. I’m only talking to Newcastle right now.”

Ashley’s plea for Benitez to remain on Tyneside came in a statement issued within hours of the final whistle in his side’s 3-0 victory over Chelsea on Sunday, which ended a run of four successive defeats and secured a 10th-place Premier League finish.