Rafael Benitez. Picture: Sky Sports

London Club West Ham United are planning on making a move to hire Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez, according to Sky sources.

Benitez almost became Hammers boss in the summer of 2015 before they were gazumped by Real Madrid.

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The former Liverpool and Chelsea manager is believed to have a £6m release clause in his Newcastle contract and wants assurances about his transfer budget before committing his long-term future to the club.

The 58-year-old remains in discussions over a contract extension in the north-east, as his present deal has only 12 months left to run.

Benitez has earned plaudits for guiding the Magpies to an impressive 10th-place finish in the Premier League, capped by a 3-0 romp against Chelsea on the final day.

Sky Sports News reported on Wednesday that West Ham had met with representatives of former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, although it is understood wages are a major stumbling block.

West Ham are also interested in Paulo Fonseca, manager of Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk.