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Rafael Benitez close to signing Newcastle contract

Rafael Benitez is believed to be close to agreeing a deal to remain as Newcastle manager.

Benitez is ready to manage Newcastle in the Championship. Credit: PA

Discussions which began after the club's relegation from the Premier League on May 11 are believed to have proved fruitful.

Hopes are high around St James' Park that a formal agreement with the 56-year-old has been reached.

Some supporters had grown anxious at the delay confirming Benitez's continued presence or otherwise. Sources close to the talks insisted there was nothing sinister in the protracted nature of the negotiations, which were always expected to last weeks rather than days.

McClaren contacts Rotherham but unlikely to be appointed

McClaren contacted Rotherham about the vacant managerial position. Credit: PA

Former England and Newcastle manager Steve McClaren contacted Rotherham about the vacant managerial position, but he is unlikely to be the Millers' new manager, Press Association Sport understands.

The 55-year-old, who was sacked by the Magpies in March after an ill-fated tenure at St James' Park, is keen to get back into work and surprisingly mooted a possible interest in the Sky Bet Championship Millers.

But that contact is not expected to develop into anything stronger.

McClaren, who would have been the Millers' most high-profile manager since Emlyn Hughes in the 1980s had he ended up in the New York Stadium dugout, will now wait for another opportunity to come up as he aims to repair a reputation that was badly damaged during his nine-month stay in the north east.

He was in charge for 28 Barclays Premier League games after joining from Derby last summer, with a 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth proving fatal and he left Newcastle in the bottom three, a position they were unable to recover.

Rotherham are looking for a third manager in seven months after Neil Warnock U-turned on an extension to his short-term deal last week and are beginning the interview process this week.


Wijnaldum 'devastated' by relegation with Newcastle

Leading scorer Georginio Wijnaldum has admitted his devastation at being unable to fire Newcastle to Premier League safety.

Wijnaldum is gutted about relegation to the Championship. Credit: PA

The 25-year-old Dutchman struck 11 times, two of them in the final-day 5-1 demolition of Tottenham, but was unable to prevent the Magpies from slipping into the Championship.

Wijnaldum, a £14.5m summer signing from PSV Eindhoven, told the club's official website

In your first season if you can score 11 goals, it gives you confidence. But I'm devastated that my goals didn't help the club to survive. That's the feeling that I have right now and I think that's the feeling that will stay for a long time.

It's difficult to be happy if you're relegated. I scored goals, but they don't have a meaning any more because we are relegated. I've never played in this situation. I feel how it is to score but it will not help the team to survive, so I'm sad about that.

– Georginio Wijnaldum


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