RAFA BENITEZ has revealed he is “relaxed” about the idea of extending his Newcastle contract.
But the Spaniard says he is not surprised he is being linked with bigger clubs after his successful season at St James’ Park.
Benitez, 58, has one year left on his Toon deal and owner Mike Ashley is keen to pin him down long term.
The Magpies manager is open to start contract talks now his tenth-placed side’s Premier League status is virtually secured.
And asked on Spanish radio if he saw himself staying at Newcastle, Benitez replied: “Yes, in principal we are relaxed.
“We have one more year on our contract and now the board are trying that we talk a little bit about the future because the talk now is always about ‘projects’.
“With so much investment it is increasingly difficult.
“But they want to link us to the club for more time so that we can make a stronger team if possible.”
Benitez’s Newcastle beat Arsenal 2-1 on Sunday to move above the 40-point mark in the Premier League.
Following that win, the ex-Liverpool and Chelsea boss was being touted in some circles as a potential replacement for under-fire Gunners chief Arsene Wenger.
And while Benitez is flattered by the link, he believes it is only to be expected given his career CV.
He added: "The fact that you get linked, it is something positive because it makes you proud of your career trajectory.
“People in England are conscious of the fact that experience in the Premier League is important and, what is more, you go to other competitions and other leagues and win as well.
“They see that experience and, when a team is struggling to get into the top four, that experience - knowing the Premier League, knowing what it is to compete, what it is to win - is what they value.
“There are people that talk about ‘Young coaches and we give them time’.
“But when a club wants to win quickly, what they want is results and results with people who have been here for a while and know what the Premier League is and how difficult it can be.”