RAFAEL BENITEZ has confirmed his contract discussions with Newcastle United have been at an impasse for more than a month, and conceded the ongoing uncertainty is making it impossible for him to make any firm decisions on his players’ futures.

Benitez’s current contract is due to expire on June 30, and earlier this month he submitted a written dossier outlining his demands for a new deal.

However, he is still to hold face-to-face talks with either Lee Charnley or Mike Ashley, and while he would like to remain in his current role, the clock is ticking with the Newcastle hierarchy currently showing no desire to kick-start new discussions.

“I don’t want to give too much information,” said Benitez. “All I will say is that we had contact behind the scenes because we couldn’t be talking every week about our conversations. I was saying, ‘Concentrate on that, make sure we are safe’, but at the same time, we will do what we have to do. Now, we are in the same position we were in one month ago. That is it. Waiting for answers.”

Newcastle published their accounts for the financial year ending June 2018 yesterday, with the figures showing a profit of £18.6m following the club’s first season back in the Premier League.

Turnover increased by more than 100 per cent to £178.5m, largely as a result of the Premier League television deal, with payments on wages and salaries falling by more than £18m to £93.6m.

The net cash outlay on player trading during the period covered by the accounts was £15.7m – hardly a big sum by Premier League standards – but Lee Charnley has stated that a balance of £11m has been carried over to supplement the budget for future transfer windows.

However, the uncertainty over Benitez’s future is making it impossible for him to make recruitment decisions ahead of the summer transfer window. Reports this week suggested Matt Ritchie had been told he would not be getting a new contract, but Benitez admits he is not in a position to make such a call.

“I have had some players talking with me (about their future), but I told them you have to talk with the club not me,” said the Magpies manager, ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Southampton. “All I can do is make sure they are fit and ready, and pick the team.

“My priority is to concentrate on the next game. I am not happy when I see all the stories about Ritchie, it is not true.

“My job is to prepare Ritchie for the next game. I cannot give any advice about the future, my contract is up on the 30th of June. If I do not have a contract after next month, how can I say to him, ‘I will not give you a contract?’”