RAFA BENITEZ has wished Mo Diame all the best “for the future” as he prepares to leave Newcastle United, even though there remains huge uncertainty hanging around the club over major decisions.

The ongoing takeover talk involving Mike Ashley and Sheik Khaled, among others, has prevented Benitez from committing to a new deal as his current contract heads towards its expiry on June 30.

That has not stopped Newcastle, who Benitez wants to lead into the top ten next season, from releasing its retained list and Diame looks set to be the most experienced departure.

There remains an unlikely chance that the Senegal international will be offered fresh terms once the managerial situation is sorted out, although the player himself is considering options – with an offer from Qatar known to be on the table.

Benitez said: "I would like to say thank you to all the players leaving the club this summer. Mo has been a great servant to Newcastle United in his three years here. He has given us a lot on and off the pitch and we wish him well for the future.”

Diame’s pending exit would free up a space in the midfield area, while there is also doubts surrounding the future of fellow midfielders Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey – with both likely to be moving on the summer.

That could leave just Ki Sung-Yeung and Sean Longstaff as the senior midfielders in the ranks and the former is still expecting Newcastle to be challenging for a place in the top ten next season.

Ki said: “This club is massive. Every single game you have full stadiums, the fans support behind us. The history of the club is amazing. Hopefully, you have to go forward. That’s the target. As a player, as a club … we should go forward.

“Maybe (7-10th) is the next target for everyone next season. We have to be realistic. I can’t say we have to fight for the Champions League. That’s not realistic. We have to be realistic. I think Newcastle, as a club, has potential to go higher in the table. I believe that we will improve next season.”

But Ki wasn’t keen to talk too much about Benitez’s importance to helping the club realise that potential.

He said :“Even though I don’t say anything, you all know the situation. We don’t know what’s going to happen. It depends on the manager and what he decides. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Newcastle will be looking to recruit this summer regardless of what happens on the takeover front, although with the exception of Diame leaving the squad has predominantly lost youngsters.

Callum Roberts – linked with Panathinaikos - has left the club along with former Everton defender Josef Yarney and ex-Arsenal youngster Stefan O'Connor.

Tyrique Bartlett, Juanito, Otto Huuhtanen and O'Connor, as well as scholars Max Allen, Thomas Cole, Sam Joyce and Deece Kasinga Madia have also been let go.

Newcastle have extended deals for Tom Allan, Owen Bailey, Daniel Barlaser, Lewis Cass, Liam Gibson, Nathan Harker, Mo Sangare and Oliver Walters, and to second-year scholars Ryan Barrett, Dan Langley and Jack Young.