The Spaniard spent yesterday working on a list of transfer targets and is now pressing ahead with next season’s plans after owner Mike Ashley gave the manager complete control of player recruitment - a first under his stewardship.
Ashley met managing director Lee Charnley yesterday and an announcement is expected before next week.
Charnley - who has been blamed for last June’s appointment of Steve McClaren - is set to survive, as Benitez is comfortable working alongside the former club secretary as opposed to a director of football.
Only an 11th-hour offer from elsewhere could now scupper the deal. However chief scout Graham Carr, after six years at Newcastle, will leave the club as part of the agreement.
Original source: Rafa agrees to stay at Toon