Rafael Benitez has admitted he cannot give any guarantees about his future as Newcastle boss as another frustrating transfer window draws to a close.
The 58-year-old Spaniard handed his latest list of targets, one which sought to address the failings of the club’s summer recruitment drive and bolster his squad for a second Premier League survival fight, to managing director Lee Charnley back in December.
But as he prepared his players for Tuesday night’s clash with champions Manchester City 48 hours before the window is due to close, he did not have a single new face on board and was cutting an increasingly exasperated figure.
Benitez is out of contract at the end of the season and with the Magpies showing little sign of providing him with assurances he craves over the club’s future direction, the prospect of him signing a contract extension appears minimal.
Asked if he could guarantee he would not walk out before the end of the campaign, Benitez said: “No, I cannot guarantee anything. I guarantee I will be focused and try to do my best every minute.”
The Spaniard is renowned for his determination to honour contracts and although it is understood a multi-million-pound clause which would leave him having to buy his way out of his existing deal has now expired, the chances are that he will remain on Tyneside whatever happens over the remainder of this week.
That said, there is a growing suspicion that a man who continues to see the potential in a properly-funded Newcastle has grown weary with banging his head against a brick wall.
With little prospect of owner Mike Ashley off-loading the club he has been trying to sell since October 2017, Benitez may have finally admitted defeat.
In the meantime, he will carry on with business as usual and the quest for the points the club needs to stay up despite its glaring weaknesses.
Asked if he would walk out on Thursday if he had not got the players he wanted, Benitez replied: “We will wait until Thursday and see what happens. Hopefully we can get three points against Manchester City and then everybody will be happy.
“I came here and I decided to stay in the Championship because I can see the potential of the club. I will try to do my best until the last minute.”
Asked further if there was no chance he would quit on Thursday, he replied: “[That would be] Very difficult.”