Benitez has endured a frustrating summer transfer window on Tyneside and is reportedly at loggerheads with Toon owner Mike Ashley after a failure to land a number of targets following their promotion back to the Premier League.
Bilic is under huge pressure to turn around results in east London after suffering three defeats to start the season, including a 3-0 reverse to Benitez’s side at St James’ Park last weekend.
The Spanish boss has been consistently linked with Bilic’s job since last season when results started to suffer at the London Stadium as Benitez has been close to taking the helm before.
He was lined up to replace Sam Allardyce and had reportedly agreed to take the reigns for the final season at Upton Park before Real Madrid came calling and presented Benitez with a once in a lifetime chance to manage to behemoth club at the Bernabeu, which he took.
The Hammers board still hold Benitez in high regard and he his high on the list of any candidate to replace Bilic should the Croat get the boot from E20.
football.london sources in the north east tell us that the relationship between Benitez and Ashley is completely gone but the manager will be reluctant to walk out on the club mid-season. He is likely to leave at the end of the campaign, however.
It’s believed Benitez has a £6m release clause in his contract that when triggered, will allow him to talk to other Premier League clubs.