THE prospect of Rafa Benitez returning to Newcastle United once the club’s £300m takeover has been completed has been raised.

The Spaniard, a popular figure during his time at St James’ Park, left the club last summer after his relationship with owner Mike Ashley broke down.

Benitez moved to China after years of frustration working under the Ashley regime.

But with the club on the verge of a new era, with the multi-billionaire Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund ready to take over, Benitez is reported to be in line to take charge once again.

While Steve Bruce replaced Benitez, a Tyneside return for the Spaniard would be a public relations masterstroke by the new owners.

Only the formalities of the fit and proper persons test with the Premier League and Football Association remain before prospective new chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan takes charge.

The deal has been brokered by Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers, who have a number of investments on Tyneside and are owners of Newcastle Racecourse.

Both Staveley and the Reuben brothers will own ten per cent of the club, with 80 per cent controlled by the Saudis. Only the formalities of the owners and directors test stand between the club becoming under new ownership.

Documents detailing the future plans have beenlodged with the Premier League and among those is a plan to redevelop the club’s dated training facilities in Benton, which was long one of Benitez’s frustrations.

The PIF's worth is estimated at £320bn, which comfortably puts them the wealthiest owners in the Premier League. The riches of Manchester City's Abu Dhabi owners and Roman Abramovich at Chelsea are not in the same league.

It has been claimed that a meeting to discuss the future strategy for Newcastle with the key players will take place today, with the deal all but done and an official announcement to follow.