RAFAEL BENITEZ was involved in the process that resulted in Newcastle United agreeing to participate in this summer’s Premier League Asia Trophy, although the Magpies manager is still to enter into a new round of talks over his future beyond the end of the season.

Newcastle will join Manchester City, West Ham United and Wolves at the Asia Trophy, which wil see all four teams playing in a double-header at Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre on Wednesday, July 17, with a third place play-off and final staged at Shanghai’s Hongkou Stadium on Saturday, July 20.

This summer’s tournament will be the ninth edition of the Asia Trophy, with Newcastle’s only previous involvement having come in the inaugural competition in 2003.

Benitez has previously expressed reservations about taking his Newcastle squad on a long-haul summer trip, with his preparations for the last couple of seasons having been built around a training camp in Ireland and matches in either Portugal or Spain.

However, the Newcastle boss was involved in discussions relating to this summer’s trip to China, and appreciates the potential value of playing in a high-profile tournament in Asia.

As well as receiving a significant payment for participating in the Premier League’s flagship overseas competition, Newcastle should also benefit from being able to increase their brand awareness in one of the most lucrative sporting markets.

Their participation is dependent on them retaining their Premier League status this season, but provided they remain in the top-flight, Benitez can see the sense in heading to China. He oversaw similar pre-season trips during his time at Liverpool, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

His involvement in the decision-making process should not be interpreted as proof that he intends to sign a new deal, though, as he is yet to enter into a new round of talks over his future.

Benites remains adamant he will not discuss his own position until Newcastle are mathematically safe from relegation. The Magpies are seven points clear of the drop zone with seven games still to play.