It is claimed the two clubs are still "hammering out a deal", however, with Espanyol demanding £3.5 million to part with the 52-year-old. who led them to eighth in La Liga last season.
Rafael Benitez: 'Newcastle United are working on transfers'
That's according to the BBC's Mark Lawrenson, who also admitted it's hard for Rafa this January. But if they talk about loans we are not interested because we need them.
The Hornets made the ill-advised decision to replace the former Spain defender with Walter Mazzarri despite Sanchez Flores keeping the Vicarage Road club in the Premier League at the first time of asking and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals. They were 14th ahead of Thursday's match at Levante.
With Martin O'Neill's future as Ireland manager still up in the air due to links with the vacant Stoke City job, it appears that he is now a back-up plan for the Potters, according to reports.
Stoke had hoped to have their new manager in place for the Premier League game against Manchester United on 15 January - but it is thought Flores might not arrive by then.
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Russell said: "It's been a bit hard with a manager gone who is really well-respected in the club".
"It was hard at first but they have picked up over the last couple of days".
"Eddie's in charge and I'm just helping him out". Obviously the owners want to make sure it's the right person, which can be hard.
Karnataka slugfest continues: Now, Siddaramaiah says BJP, RSS are 'Hindus without humanity'
To this, Siddaramaiah had angrily retorted: "I have reared cows, grazed them and even cleaned the dung". It was not clear whether the chief minister made the comment in retaliation to Shahs remark.
Defenders Erik Pieters and Bruno Martins Indi, sidelined of late by hamstring and groin injuries respectively, could be available for selection for Monday having returned to training this week.