Newcastle United are beginning their search for a new manager after announcing that Rafa Benitez is to leave the club when his contract expires on June 30.
Jose Mourinho, the former Manchester United manager, is among the favourites to succeed the Spaniard, followed closely by ex-Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri.
Benitez will leave Tyneside after three and half years at Newcastle. During that time, he led the side back to the Premier League and twice staved off relegation.
The search to appoint Benitez’s replacement comes amid continuing uncertainty about the club’s ownership after weeks of speculation about a possible takeover by the Bin Zayed Group.
- Craig Hope, North East football correspondent at the Daily Mail:
Mikel Arteta, the assistant coach at Manchester City, has also been linked with the role. The 37-year-old was close to being named Arsenal manager last summer.
But there are reports that a shortlist of possible successors is yet to be drawn up and that no serious thought has been given as to who will take over at St James’ Park.
Benitez’s coaching staff, Paco de Miguel Moreno, Antonio Gómez Péréz and Mikel Antía, will leave with him.
With the first team squad due to return for pre-season training on July 4, the former Newcastle striker and manager Alan Shearer described the situation as a “shambles”.
Fans gathered outside St James' Park on the day of the announcement to protest Benitez's exit.
- One supporter told ITV News: "I don't think anyone could fill his shoes..."