Rafa Benitez says he’s prepared to walk away from Newcastle United at the end of his contract – even though he’s “happy” at St James’s Park.
Benitez’s contract runs out in the summer.
And owner Mike Ashley hopes that his manager – who joined the club three years ago – will sign a new deal.
However, Benitez – whose side take on Everton at St James’s Park this afternoon – will only commit to United if he is convinced that he will get the backing he feels he needs to compete for European football and trophies.
Asked if he would be hard to leave Newcastle, Benitez said: “Always, when you are happy in a place, it’s not easy (to leave).
“But, at the same time, you want to compete, you want to do well and you want to improve.
It’s not just that you will be a better manager. You want to be a better manager winning something. We have to be sure we can do that.Rafa Benitez
“It’s not just that you will be a better manager. You want to be a better manager winning something. We have to be sure we can do that.”
Asked if he would like to stay at United for another three years, Benitez added: “I would like to win against Everton, and see what happens in the future.”
Benitez – whose family are settled on Merseyside – wants to manage for another 10 years.
And his “priority” is to stay in English football.
“Obviously, my priority will be to stay in England, because my family is here,” said the 58-year-old. “So I would like to stay here (in England) if everything is fine. I like the Premier League, I like the competition here.
“Can I go to another country? Yes. Why? Because I have done it in the past – I don’t have any problems to go around – but I would like to stay close to my family.”
Meanwhile, Benitez declined to comment on the departure of long-serving Under-23 coach Peter Beardsley this week.
Beardsley left the wake of an investigation into allegations of bullying and racism.
“Sorry, but I can’t comment about that,” said Benitez.
Beardsley – who took a period of leave 14 months ago – said he was looking for a “new challenge”.