Rafa Benitez gives worrying update about his Newcastle United future

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez has refused to guarantee that he will stay at Newcastle United until the end of the season ahead of the transfer deadline.

Benitez is still waiting for the club to deliver the players he wants ahead of Thursday night’s deadline.

United’s manager, frustrated at a lack of backing from owner Mike Ashley in recent transfer windows, is expected to leave the relegation-threatened club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

However, Benitez – whose side take on Manchester City at St James’s Park tonight – is unhappy again at the club’s apparent unwillingness to back him in the transfer market.

Asked if he would quit if the club didn’t sign a player, Benitez said: “We will wait until Thursday and see what happens. Hopefully, we can get three points against Manchester City, and then everybody will be happy.”

Benitez was then asked if he would consider his future if his squad was not strengthened.

“I came here and I decided to stay in the Championship because I can see the potential of the club,” said Benitez, who can now walk away from the job without paying the club compensation. “I will try to do my best until the last minute.”

Benitez has refused to talk about the transfer market since admitting he was “worried” after Newcastle’s Boxing Day defeat to Liverpool. The 58-year-old had said in the summer, when he had to sell to buy, that “everything” was wrong behind the scenes after a friendly defeat to Braga.

Benitez stressed his “professionalism” and “principles” when asked if his patience was being stretched to breaking point.

“I’m a professional, and I want to do things well,” said Benitez.

“Again I will say, if I decide to stay in the Championship to do my job and to finish my job in the way that I like to do things. I have some principles, and I will try to do things properly.”

Ashley has been pushing Benitez to sign a new contract for the past 12 months.

Asked if his job at United would end in the summer when his contract expires, Benitez said: “I don’t know. It depends how it is going on during this time.”

Benitez met Ashley, and his associates Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop, after the club’s win over Cardiff City at St James’s Park earlier this month.

Asked if he would discuss his future with the club’s hierarchy next week, Benitez said: “It depends on how things are going on.

“I had a conversation with Mike, Justin, Bishop and Lee (Charnley, United’s managing director) the other day. We were talking about everything, and now we will see where we are.”

Asked if he could guarantee that he would not walk out before the end of the season, Benitez said: “No, I cannot guarantee anything.

“I guarantee I will be focused and try to do my best every minute.”