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Newcastle’s biggest summer priority should be keeping Rafael Benitez

Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United

Newcastle’s biggest summer priority should be keeping Rafael Benitez

With Newcastle fans crying out for a big budget for new heroes at St James’ Park this summer, their main priority remains to ensure unsung hero Rafael Benitez stays on Tyneside.

The Magpies are currently trying to persuade Benitez to extend his stay at St James’ Park as he prepares to enter the final year of his current contract, and ensuring subsequent funds are available will be crucial to the Spaniard committing his future.

However, funds remain a complicated equation for Newcastle by the fact that the club remains up for sale by controversial owner Mike Ashley.

Despite money struggles at the club, Benitez was recently shortlisted for the manager of the year accolade after ensuring Newcastle avoided the drop following their promotion from the Championship last season.

The Spaniard has not only secured safety at St James’ but sees the side sitting pretty in 10th place. It could be their best finish since 2012.

The former Liverpool manager was expected to be one of the strugglers in the league, but he has blown his doubters out of the water as Newcastle can now prepare for another season in the top flight with games still to spare.

Newcastle’s home form had become a problem for the Spanish manager this season. However, he quickly rallied his troops, inspiring them to crucial wins over Manchester United and Arsenal.

(Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

It is no surprise, then, that Benitez has been linked with the vacant Arsenal job after Arsene Wenger decided to call a day on his 22-year reign with the Gunners. However, according to the Daily Mail, Benitez has already undergone talks to remain with the club for another season.

The 58-year-old manager has secured the Magpies’ top-flight status without the real firepower of a top quality striker, with their leading scorer, Ayoze Perez, having managed only six Premier League goals.

Benitez was left frustrated, being forced to buy on the cheap when looking for a striker 12 months ago. He eventually settled on former Stoke front man Joselu, with the club paying just £5million for the Spaniard.

He will be fully aware that extra firepower will cost the Magpies more this summer.

It is paramount that Newcastle do everything in their power to satisfy the Tyneside hero if they are to kick-on and continue to improve next campaign.

If Benitez can comfortably secure Premier league football on a budget, it is scary to think what he could achieve if given the appropriate players to take the Magpies to next level.

Josh Kerr

I am a freelance sports journalist currently studying sports journalism at Staffordshire University with a passion for all things football. I'm a keen supporter of Liverpool Football Club, as well as my local side Forest Green Rovers. I've worked for online newspaper VAVEL UK as well as a media assistant for Chester FC in the Vanarama National League.

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