NEWCASTLE UNITED’S current owners will not be conducting fresh contract talks with Rafael Benitez, and are adamant their final offer is already on the table.

Benitez’s current contract is due to expire on June 30, which means he has just over three weeks in which to decide whether to accept the terms that have been submitted via his representatives.

Having met Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley in London last month, Benitez and his negotiating team have been in contact with the Newcastle hierarchy via telephone and Email in the last few weeks.

That has resulted in a formal contract offer, which Benitez is currently understood to be considering. The Newcastle boss was in Madrid last weekend for the Champions League final, but is believed to have returned to his family base on the Wirral to consider his future.

The Spaniard is aware of ongoing interest from a number of quarters, although Newcastle are the only English club to be offering him a job this summer.

Clubs in China and the Middle East have long courted Benitez’s services, and would be willing to offer a significant hike in the £6m-a-year wages that the 59-year-old has been earning thanks to his current Newcastle deal.

Roma have also attempted to talk to Benitez since the end of the season, but the Magpies manager turned down an invitation to speak to the Italian club’s chief executive Guido Fienga.

His reluctance to discuss a possible move to Serie A has increased hopes he will agree to remain on Tyneside, but the fact he has had Newcastle’s contract offer for around a fortnight and stopped short of signing on the dotted line remains a cause of concern.

The ongoing uncertainty about Newcastle’s ownership is bound to play a major role in his final decision, with the viability of the Bin Zayed Group’s attempts to buy out Ashley still shrouded in huge uncertainty.

The Northern Echo:

Hopes of a successful deal being pushed through rose on Wednesday when it emerged Sheikh Khaled and the Bin Zayed Group’s managing director, Mihat Kidwai, had been named as the only two directors of Monochrome Acquisitions Ltd – a potential play on words on Newcastle’s black-and-white strip – a new company registered at companies house.

The company, which has been set up with the registered address of the same law company, Pinsent Masons, that Ashley used when he bought the Magpies 12 years ago, is a special purpose holding company that would be necessary in UK law for a cross-border acquisition to take place.

Companies House has confirmed the documentation is legitimate, although the creation of Monochrome Acquisitions does not mean that a change of ownership is inevitable. At this stage, while Ashley has agreed a heads of terms agreement with the Bin Zayed Group, the group have not been granted exclusivity and the Premier League have not received the detailed Sales Purchase Agreement that would be needed for a transfer of shares.

While the Bin Zayed Group are the only party to have publicly confirmed their interest in buying Newcastle this summer, at least two other interested groups are understood to have held discussions with senior Magpies officials.

Those talks remain ongoing and there is still a chance that Newcastle could be sold to a buyer other than the Bin Zayed Group before the start of next season.