As Premier League strugglers prepare to sack Steve McClaren
- Rafa Benitez is set to meet with Premiere League strugglers Newcastle
- The ex-Real Madrid manager wants to work with team before Monday
- Steve McClaren’s sacking could be confirmed by Thursday lunchtime
- Benitez is back in the UK at his Wirral family home after leaving Madrid
- His first home match will be against Sunderland a week on Sunday
- Newcastle are second bottom in the top-flight, one point from safety
Rafa Benitez is set to meet with Newcastle united officials on Thursday before his appointment as manager.
Sportsmail revealed on Wednesday night that the Spaniard was set to take over from Steve McClaren, who will now be sacked after just nine months in charge.
Club sources have told us that Benitez could now be installed ahead of Monday’s trip to Leicester City.
A stoney-faced McClaren was pictured leaving Newcastle’s Darsley Park training ground on Thursday where he received a reassuring pat on the back from long-serving security guard Graham Crombie, affectionately known as ‘Tash’.
Steve McClaren receives a pat on the back from security guard Graham Crombie as he leaves the training
Rafa Benitez is set to meet with Newcastle United officials on Thursday before his appointment as manager
McClaren took training with the players in preparation for their game against Leicester on Monday
McClaren leaves the training ground and climbs into a black Audi waiting outside
McClaren arrived at the club’s training ground on Thursday morning and took training
MCCLAREN’S RECORD AT NEWCASTLE AND BENITEZ’S CV
Steve McClaren’s record at Newcastle
Matches played in all competitions: 31
Goals for: 32
Goals against: 56
Premier League position: 19th
Biggest win: 6-2 Norwich City
Biggest defeat: 6-1 Manchester City
Recent form: Three straight defeats
Rafa Benitez’s managerial CV
1993–1995 Real Madrid B
2012–2013 Chelsea (interim)
2015–2016 Real Madrid
Informal talks have been taking place over the past few days after Newcastle’s board – minus McClaren – agreed during a secret meeting in York on Monday that the Spaniard was the man they wanted.
Managing director Lee Charnley has led the discussions and the arrival of the former Real Madrid boss will be something of a coup for the club chief, who has been under pressure to make an appointment to rescue their Premier League future after McClaren’s disastrous reign.
Newcastle are prepared to make concessions with Benitez, and that will include dispensing with their ‘head coach’ model.
There will also be a significant financial incentive for achieving Premier League survival, with 10 matches remaining for Newcastle to secure their top-flight status.
The former England manager climbs out an Audi car as speculation regarding his Newcastle future intensified
This could well be the last time McClaren visits the Newcastle training ground as manager of the club
The 54-year-old ex-Middlesbrough boss greets door staff with a smile despite being on the brink of the sack
McClaren (pictured on Wednesday) was meant to meet Lee Charnley but it was put off
The relationship between the fans and McClaren has diminished, with his position becoming untenable
The Premier League’s bottom six teams
Summer budgets have been mentioned during talks, suggesting that Benitez sees a move to the North-East as a long-term project as opposed to a fire-fighting role.
Benitez also wants to bring his own backroom team, and that should not be an issue.
It will prove a massively popular appointment and Benitez, should the deal hit no snags in the next 24 hours, will take charge of his first home game against Sunderland a week on Sunday.
Benitez, who was sacked by Real this season, could now be installed ahead of Monday’s trip to Leicester City
Benitez will have 10 matches to avoid relegation from the Premier League, with the club one point from safety
Former Real Madrid manager Benitez has been without a job since leaving the Bernabeu
Source: Daily Mail