Newcastle United draw up managerial shortlist after Rafa Benitez bombshell

Newcastle United last night started the search for Rafa Benitez’s successor – but Avram Grant is NOT being considered for the job.
Rafa Benitez will leave his post on June 30.Rafa Benitez will leave his post on June 30.
Rafa Benitez will leave his post on June 30.

The club yesterday revealed that it had failed to reach an agreement with its manager over a new deal.

And the 59-year-old – who guided United to a 13th-placed finish last season – will formally leave St James’s Park when his contract expires on June 30.

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United’s announcement provoked an angry backlash from fans, who had wanted owner Mike Ashley to back Benitez in this summer’s transfer market.

Jose Mourinho, out of work since leaving Manchester United last season, was installed as an early favourite for the job by bookmakers, while Avram Grant was also linked with the post.

However, the former Chelsea manager is not understood to be a contender for the job.