NEWCASTLE UNITED are prepared for more uncertainty surrounding the future of manager Rafael Benitez after it emerged he will be under serious consideration for the Spanish national job.

The Spanish FA are looking for a new head coach for after the World Cup, because Julen Lopetegui will step down and take over Real Madrid.

Benitez was linked with the Spain job when it was last up for grabs following Vicente del Bosque’s exit after failing to defend the European Championship title in 2016.

Now the Magpies manager’s name will be under serious consideration again in his homeland, given his pedigree and ability to deliver success at almost every club he has ever been at. There is a shortage of candidates who can match what he has achieved.

Benitez has also previously admitted he would be interested in taking on the Spain role, and was quoted in Marca in October stating as much.

He said then: “If I do well here (Newcastle) then maybe. If not the national team won’t happen.”

Benitez was also under consideration for the West Ham job before Manuel Pellegrini was appointed.

The aim is to improve the Newcastle squad over the course of this summer and he is regularly in touch with managing director Lee Charnley for transfer updates.

Newcastle have not yet added to the playing staff, while Benitez has sought assurances since the end of the season from Mike Ashley that there is a sizeable pot of money to spend.

It is understood Benitez has been waiting to see what happens on the transfer front before committing to a new contract, as he approaches the final 12 months of his deal.

That contract situation would make things easier for the Spanish FA to pursue Benitez should they decide he is the man they want to speak to. Spain’s Under-21s coach Albert Celades and former Malaga coach Michel are two alternatives to be considered.

Newcastle – linked with midfielder Roque Masa and, once again, with Sporting striker Bas Dost - are continuing to look at ways to strengthen.

There is a more talk of potential outgoings at this stage. Stoke City are the latest to be expressing an interest in striker Dwight Gayle, even though he is keen to stay after holding down a regular spot last season.