RAFAEL BENITEZ has reaffirmed his commitment to Everton, with Newcastle United’s search for a new head coach set to extend into at least next week.

Graeme Jones will lead the Magpies into action against Chelsea tomorrow, and there is an increasing likelihood that the current interim boss will remain in position for the trip to Brighton on November 6. After that, there is a two-week international break in which it is hoped a sporting director and permanent successor to Steve Bruce will both be appointed.

Newcastle’s new ownership group continue to work through the recruitment process for both the sporting director and head coach roles, with their final decision on the former having a major impact on their options for the latter.

A number of potential candidates for the head coach position have been discussed, with Benitez’s situation at Everton known to have been raised at an early stage of the recruitment process.

Benitez distanced himself from the speculation linking him with a possible return to Newcastle, but the talk intensified in the wake of Everton’s home thrashing at the hands of Watford last weekend.

With Benitez’s position at Goodison Park becoming less secure, the bookmakers slashed his price to be the Magpies’ next manager, but the Spaniard is understood to have used an intermediary to once again categorically rule out any possibility of him returning to St James’ Park. Having been appointed as Everton manager in the summer despite his previous links to Liverpool, he remains determined to make things work with the Toffees.

Amanda Staveley and her advisors have spoken to former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, but the fact he has not subsequently been offered a position suggests that at the very least there is a desire to conduct formal interviews with alternative candidates.

Former Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre has confirmed his desire to take charge of the Magpies, and the 63-year-old is known to be highly-regarded within Newcastle’s ownership group.

Favre, who turned down an offer to become Crystal Palace boss in the summer, is keen to return to frontline management, and regards the Newcastle job as an enticing prospect.

The Magpies are keen to appoint Ajax director of football Marc Overmars as the head of their football operation, but Overmars would like to continue working with Erik ten Hag. However, ten Hag, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is sacked, is understood to have reservations about joining Newcastle.