Newcastle United have made Rafael Benitez their No.1 managerial target to replace Steve McClaren, according to the Daily Mail.

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But the former Liverpool manager is not happy how Mike Ashley runs the club.

It is unlikely he will accept the three year contract offered, because he fears he would not be allowed to run the club as he wanted.

The Premier League club, who are preparing to sack McClaren with the Magpies currently struggling in the relegation zone in England's top flight, will now sound out the former Real Madrid boss over his interest in taking over.

Benitez could even be offered the job on a temporary basis until the end of the season, with Newcastle facing the prospect of going down to the Championship.

That could suit the Spaniard because it would give him a "get out of jail FREE" card should the Magpies go down.

Never a man to stick around long, he would only be using Newcastle as a stepping stone to something bigger.