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Rafa Benitez sidesteps question on Newcastle takeover as talks continue with Amanda Staveley

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez insists he's focused on matters on the pitch – as takeover talks continue off the field at Newcastle United.

Benitez's side take on Manchester United at Old Trafford tomorrow evening in a televised Premier League game.

Owner Mike Ashley formally put the club up for sale last month.

And a number of potential buyers, including a consortium led by financier Amanda Staveley, have signed non-disclosure agreements.

However, no firm bid has been made for Newcastle, which was bought by Ashley a decade ago.

Manager Benitez is in regular contact with United managing director Lee Charnley.

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley

"My only contact is with Lee Charnley," said Benitez.

"I consult him every week – two or three times a week – and the information that I have at the moment is that we play against Man United tomorrow.

"No updates. We have to concentrate on our football."

Ashley hopes to sell the club by the turn of the year, though that timescale could prove to be optimistic.

Benitez is waiting on the outcome of talks to find out just how much money he will have to spend in January's transfer window.