Rafa Benitez set for Mike Ashley talks after 'breakthrough' at Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Rafa Benitez is set for meet with Mike Ashley after a breakthrough in talks over his future at Newcastle United.

Benitez’s contract at St James’s Park on June 30.

And United’s manager had been “waiting for answers” after outlining what it would take for him to stay at the club.

The 59-year-old wants more investment in the squad and the club’s infrastructure as well as a greater degree of autonomy in the transfer market.

Benitez – whose side take on Liverpool at St James’s Park tonight – had hinted at his impatience last month.

However, there have been “positive” talks this week with managing director Lee Charnley.

Asked if there had been a breakthrough, Benitez said: “Yes, it was positive, because Lee he knows what I’m talking about and what I think. And I know what they think.

“So at least we can now move forward. It’s not more or less confident, but it’s more positive, because at least we’re talking now. The fact we had that conversation was progress.”

Benitez was asked if he would now meet Ashley for more talks.

“I’ve had the conversation, and he (Charnley) said we will organise a meeting,” said Benitez. “If we have some information, we will let you know. At the moment, we don’t have this.

Asked if the Liverpool fixture could yet be his first home fixture as United manager, Benitez said: “We’ll see. It depends on the conversations.”

United fans will show their appreciation for Benitez before and during the Liverpool game – just as they did three years ago when club ended its relegation season with a 5-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

“I know what they want, the fans – we have the same feeling,” said Benitez. “They’re happy when they see us positive crating chances and winning games. They want that and I want that.

“To achieve that depends on how you can compete against the other teams. We can’t forget that he teams in the middle of the table are spending £100million, and we’re competing at this level.”