Premier League club Newcastle United have announced that manager Rafael Benitez will be leaving the team when his contract expires this coming weekend.
The Spanish manager ensured the Magpies survived a second straight season of top-flight football, having also guided the club to promotion from the EFL Championship in 2017.
"We have worked hard to extend Rafa's contract over a significant period of time," said a Newcastle statement.
Christian Atsu keen to stay with Newcastle
"However, it has not been - and will not be - possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives."
The statement added: "The process to appoint a successor will now begin."
There has been continued speculation about Benitez’s future prior to the club announcing his departure, as he was reportedly offer a £12m-a-year deal to take over as manager at Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang.
"We would like to thank Rafa and his coaching team for their efforts over the last three years and their significant contribution to what has been collectively achieved," the statement added.
"We would also like to thank our supporters, players and staff for their patience during a period of uncertainty."