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Rafael Benítez keeps feet on the ground as Newcastle await takeover bid

• Manager refuses to get carried away despite prospect of huge investment
• Team could go sixth with victory over Burnley on Monday night

Rafael Benítez suspects Newcastle United are on the brink of a “sliding doors” moment. He has responded by drafting dramatically differing contingency plans for an ambitious investment in the January transfer window and the acquisition of a couple of budget signings intended to help avoid a potential relegation struggle.

Everything hinges on whether the club is the subject of an imminent takeover. Reports in the Gulf suggest that a consortium fronted by the financier Amanda Staveley is keen to buy Newcastle from Mike Ashley and transform the club into another Manchester City but, although due diligence is under way, no firm bid has been received.

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