By Craig Hope for the Daily Mail
Published: 22:31 BST, 3 May 2019 | Updated: 22:34 BST, 3 May 2019
Rafa Benitez has indicated for the first time that he is close to agreeing a deal to stay on as Newcastle United manager - and a meeting with Mike Ashley could seal the deal.
There were fears among supporters that Saturday night's home match against Liverpool could be his last at St James' Park, his contract expiring on June 30 and talks having hit an impasse in recent weeks.
But Benitez's mood was upbeat on Friday and he sounded positive in comparison to the spikiness of late, even hinting at an announcement in the near future.
Rafa Benitez has indicated that he is close to agreeing a deal to stay on as Newcastle manager
'I was talking with Lee Charnley (managing director) this week and we will let you know as soon as we have more news,' he said.
'I am positive that we are talking and everybody knows what my idea is. It seems that things are moving forward. The positives outweigh the negatives.'
Benitez wants the club to commit to more