Rafa Benitez contract latest as ball remains in Newcastle United's court when it comes to breaking extension talk stalemate

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley (right) flanked by Lee Charnley.
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley (right) flanked by Lee Charnley.

Newcastle United must drastically improve their contract offer to Rafa Benitez to end a stalemate in new deal talks.

Benitez's current three-year deal, signed in the summer of 2016, comes to an end in May.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez (right) with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez (right) with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

And, as things stand, the Spaniard is set to depart St James's Park with the club and the manager miles apart in their expectations when it comes to extending Benitez's stay on Tyneside.

While Benitez is keen for assurances on transfer dealings, and would adore total control over footballing matters, as he thought he was getting following the club's relegation, it is two other areas which are proving the real sticking points in talks.

The Gazette has learned that owner Mike Ashley and his representatives are, at this stage, unwilling to fund any major investment at all in the club's facilities or youth system.

Even modest investment in the club's infrastructure and academy could be enough to persuade the former Liverpool, Inter Milan and Real Madrid manager to stay.

But Ashley is understood to be unwavering in his approach that the club's money is not best spent in that department.

This approach is a constant frustration to Benitez, who can see the value in developing talent on the club's doorstep.

The likes of Paul Dummett and now Sean Longstaff, both born and bred in the region, are thriving under coach Benitez's wing.

And while it may be seen as false economy by those at the top of the tree, Benitez's view is the exact polar opposite.

Talks have taken place directly between Ashley and Benitez in recent months but no new offer has been tabled, with the terms of the new five-year, and one-year mini extension thought to contain the notion that no cash will be made available to improve the club's ageing Benton training base, in desperate need of a revamp, or to improve the structure below the first-team pool.

While no player arrives at United without Benitez's seal of approval, the convoluted way in which deals are done at the club is another source of frustration for the manager. A number of deals in the January window, and windows before, fell through despite the groundwork being done and money reportedly available to spend.