Date: 16th May 2019 at 4:01pm
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Newcastle chiefs are threatening a long, drawn-out summer over who our next manager could be, as the Chronicle have reported United have no alternative in line to succeed Rafa Benitez.

Owner Mike Ashley and the boss were due to sit down on Thursday to start discussions over a new contract for the Spaniard, as neither wished to meet on the back on Sunday’s trip to Fulham and Benitez opposed holding discussions on Monday.

The Chronicle even suggest the outcome of the crunch summit could be announced as early as the weekend or the middle of next week, as Ashley was not entering the meeting blind on what Benitez is demanding.

If Ashley does not give Benitez the assurances he is after, though, he may take some time to ponder his future, before either committing to the club or cutting his ties with the Magpies so that both parties can go about finding their best option going forward.

Benitez probably will not be out of a job for long if he decides not to stay at St James’ Park given what he has achieved here, but if he does leave, the Chronicle understand no one is currently being thought of as his successor.

A representative with close ties to Arsene Wenger has supposedly claimed he could tempt the former Arsenal boss to return to management in the North East, but that is still seen as a long shot, at best.

Former West Ham manager Slaven Bilic and Ex-Benfica boss Jorge Jesus have also put forward their case to be the next man at the helm, but the duo are not thought to have inspired enough interest.

Like Wenger, Bilic and Jesus are both currently unemployed, as both found themselves relieved of their duties in the Saudi Professional League this year.

Bilic had joined Ittihad after a year out of the game following being sacked by the Hammers, but a one-point per game average and failing to lift the Saudi giants out of the relegation zone after 15 games in charge cost the Croatian his job.

Jesus, on the other hand, oversaw 20 matches with Hilal and recorded a 2.45 points per game average, but was let go in January as he refused to commit his long-term future to the club.

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