Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has claimed keeping manager Rafael Benitez would be the club’s most important signing this summer.
The 58-year-old Spaniard is currently in talks to extend his existing contract, which has a year left to run, with players and fans alike desperate for him to stay after masterminding a successful first season back in the Premier League.
Shelvey told Sky Sports News: “Hopefully the manager will stay and we’ll keep building. I think that’s probably the most important signing of the summer, to make Rafa stay.
“When I first came to the club, there wasn’t really a link between the fans and the players, and he’s just turned the whole city around. There’s just such a buzz in Newcastle.
“Everywhere you go, the fans are always talking to you. He’s just turned the whole place around.”
Benitez arrived at St James’ Park in March 2016 with 10 games of the campaign remaining, but was unable to halt a slide into the Sky Bet Championship.
However, he guided the club back into the big time as champions at the first attempt and heads into the penultimate fixture of this season at Tottenham on Wednesday evening knowing a top-10 finish is within their grasp.