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Transfer summit may decide Benitez’s Newcastle future

Rafa Benitez is planning crunch talks with Newcastle United managing director Lee Charnley this week which could have a major bearing on the Spaniard’s future at the club.

The meeting is ostensibly being held to discuss January transfer targets, but the outcome could have a major impact on whether Benitez will stay on as manager beyond the end of the season when his current contract expires, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The 58-year former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager is seeking assurances from Newcastle owner Mike Ashley over the money that he will have to spend in January, and whether he will be given free rein as to how he uses the funds.

Ashley, who has been fully preoccupied with his other business interests in the UK, including purchase of the ailing House of Fraser department store group, has been regularly criticised by Newcastle fans for his lack of ambition for the club, which he has tried to sell on several occasions without a buyer. However, he reportedly wants Benitez to stay as manager, so it remains to be seen if he can give the Spaniard the assurances he is seeking.

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