Rafael Benitez in no rush to sign contract extension at Newcastle

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has insisted there is “plenty of time” to talk about his future after negotiating yet another tricky transfer window.

The 58-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and has so far resisted the club’s efforts to persuade him to sign a contract extension as he waited for a demonstration of owner Mike Ashley’s ambition.

With Ashley having seemingly accepted that the club will not be sold in the short-term – and following the club-record £21million swoop for Miguel Almiron and the loan capture of Monaco full-back Antonio Barreca – Benitez has a decision to make.

The Spaniard, who would offer no guarantees over his future as the January window entered its final few days, said: “I didn’t say if we don’t sign players, I will leave. I will not say now that because we have signed two players, I will sign.

“We have plenty of time to talk. The most important thing is to concentrate on the next games. My focus was to make sure we had new players.”

Whether Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley can clinch Benitez’s signature remains to be seen, but the manager professed himself “happier” at the end of a week which also brought a morale-boosting victory over champions Manchester City.

He said: “Always I use a word that for me is crucial in life, but especially in football, and that is ‘balance’.

“I am quite pragmatic. I am happier now than one week ago. Why? Because we won against Manchester City and we have brought in two players. These two players, they give us something that we didn’t have.”

While Barreca is available to play for the Magpies at Tottenham on Saturday, Almiron will have to wait a little longer as his work permit application is processed.

His fee finally broke the record the Magpies set when they signed Michael Owen for £16million in 2005, but Benitez has warned he could take time to settle in English football.

He said: “I remember signing a player at Liverpool that people thought he had to work from day one, but I said we had signed him for five years.

“We need Almiron right now, but we have not signed him just for this month. He has the desire, ambition and conditions to do well.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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