Rafa Benitez 'almost certain' to stay at Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez is set to sign a new contract and STAY at Newcastle United, according to a report.

Benitez's deal at St James's Park expires this summer – and he has put off sit-down talks over a new contract.

Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez.

However, there have been background discussions over the future of United's manager, whose side take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium tonight.

READ MORE: Rafa Benitez reveals what he has told Salomon Rondon about his Newcastle United future

And the Daily Telegraph today reported that it was "almost certain" that Benitez – who has been unhappy with the backing he's had in the transfer market since guiding the club back to the Premier League in 2017 – would sign a new deal.

Benitez said his "priority" was talks with Newcastle when he was asked about speculation linking him with a job in the Chinese Super League on Friday.

“I can read what is going on in press," said Benitez. "My priority is to keep talking Newcastle, and see where we are.

"I'm not thinking about anything else. We have some contact. I see (managing director) Lee Charnley sometimes. It’s too early. We have to concentrate on the games."

Mike Ashley, the club's owner, first tried to get Benitez to sign a new deal 14 months ago.

United, 14th in the Premier League, are seven points clear of the relegation zone with seven games left to play.