Newcastle have confirmed the sacking of Steve McClaren, with Rafael Benitez on Tyneside this afternoon to finalise his appointment.
Talks have been taking place this week between Newcastle representatives and Benitez over the possibility of taking over from McClaren, who has finally been dismissed after almost a week of uncertainty.
Former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Benitez arrived at St James’ Park on Friday afternoon to conduct face-to-face talks for the first time with a deal looking increasingly likely.
Negotiations with Benitez are said to have dragged on due to the Spaniard’s insistence on McClaren being informed of his fate before any further advancement in talks.
— Rob Scanlon (@RobScanlon_TV) March 11, 2016
Now Lee Charnley has relieved McClaren of his duties, Benitez could complete a deal to take over as soon as Saturday before travelling with his new team to Leicester on Sunday.
The Newcastle statement read:
After the defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday the Club has spent some time considering its position and has today concluded that Steve McClaren‘s employment with the Club will end with immediate effect.
We acknowledge that reaching this decision has taken a number of days and that this has caused uncertainty for everyone involved, in particular for Steve and the players, for which we apologise. However we felt that this time was necessary to ensure the right decisions were reached with the best interests of the Club at heart.
Lee Charnley said: “I would like to thank Steve personally for his services to Newcastle United. He is a man of integrity and class and he has conducted himself with great dignity during this difficult time.
“Steve worked tirelessly to try and bring success to Newcastle United. He has the utmost respect of all the players, staff and management and he leaves with our very best wishes and sincere thanks.
“We feel that a change is now needed in order to give the Club the best possible chance of securing its Premier League future.
“A further announcement on a successor to Steve will be made in due course.”