With just over two weeks to go before Rafa Benitez’s current Newcastle United contract expires, there is still no sign of an agreement being announced any time soon.

A blanket of silence has been thrown over St James’ Park – much to fans’ frustration – which means no one has a clue what the actual situation is.

As a result, an ominous dark cloud looms over every Toon fan, and it grows with every day that passes.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United)

It is now a real possibility that Rafa – our voice of sanity in a background of chaos – could leave the club.

I had not wanted to write an article like this, but the current pessimistic outlook demands it.

So, if we are to assume the worst, just where could Newcastle turn to replace him?

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Whether Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley have a back-up plan is unknown. They may already know Rafa’s decision – if it is his decision to make – and be working on a contingency plan to have a new man in place before announcing his departure.

It would be difficult for the club to win over angry Newcastle fans

What is certain, is that it would need to be a very big or exciting name to go anywhere near appeasing angry fans.

Would they go for a big name with a proven track record? Would they go for someone seen as an upcoming managerial talent? Would they go for someone with a Newcastle United background?

Of course, no one knows, and it is all conjecture, for now.

But what they cannot – and absolutely must not – do, is turn to one of the managerial merry-go-round names who hop from club to club on a regular basis.

It is that scenario that will worry supporters, and will likely lead to the mass exodus that has been mooted by fans’ groups for a while now.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The ultimate insult, would be for them to re-appoint Alan Pardew, who unified fans in their derision of him last time around.

Sadly, under a regime that never seems to worry about upsetting fans, it would come as no surprise to anyone if that was exactly what Ashley did.

Let’s hope that Benitez and the football club can get a deal sorted, and any thoughts of replacements will be well and truly forgotten.

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