Rafa Benitez would prefer to stay on as Newcastle United manager despite an attempt by West Ham to lure him to London.
Benitez remains keen to reach an agreement with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley about the size of his summer transfer budget.
He is also seeking reassurances from the sport shop billionaire that he will be able to spend the money when and how he wants, rather than have to wait for weeks for deals to be signed off, which was a cause of tension 12 months ago.
Despite his desire to remain in the North East, Benitez will not rule out leaving Newcastle as he is still waiting to hear a positive response from Ashley to his demands, despite weeks of talks with chief executive Lee Charnley.
Although Ashley released a statement on the club’s official website on Sunday in which he expressed his desire for Benitez to stay on, promising to give him every penny the club generates in the Premier League, Telegraph Sport understands the Spaniard has still not been told exactly how much money he will have to spend in this window. That has infuriated him.
The ball park figure for the transfer budget is believed to be around £50m, with extra funds generated through player sales.
Part of the problem, though, is that Newcastle will not receive their next chunk of television money until mid-July. That will leave only two weeks of the transfer window to spend that money, which means there is a cash flow problem at St James’ Park in terms of giving Benitez funds to spend at the start of the window.
Ashley will not put any more of his own money in, which is believed to be the main cause of the log jam in talks. However, if players are sold, that will allow more flexibility, with more funds to come later in the recruitment process.
Despite the frustrating lack of meaningful progress in negotiations, sources have indicated that, at this stage, there is still a desire on both sides to reach an agreement and talks are ongoing.
As things stand, Newcastle have not had any contact with West Ham asking for permission to speak to Benitez, who has a year left on his contract. Any club who wants to employ Benitez, will have to pay £6m in compensation to the Magpies.
However, the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager is growing increasingly exasperated. If things do not become clearer in terms of his budget in the next few days, Benitez will be pushed closer to the exit door.
Although he is resisting the temptation to leave, Benitez would be intrigued by the West Ham job if he cannot reach a satisfactory agreement with Newcastle.
It is also understood that other clubs, both at home and abroad, have expressed an interest in his services, but nobody has made an official approach yet.
Whether West Ham are willing to wait for the outcome of Benitez’s negotiations with the Newcastle hierarchy remains to be seen, as they have alternative targets to replace David Moyes as manager.