It’s no surprise really, with Benitez having recently talked up the importance of him staying in England, but this is the second time in just a week that a club has come in attempting to steal him away from St James’ Park.
This comes just a few days on from West Ham’s big attempt to lure the Spaniard to London and looks set to be the latest job he ‘turns down’, with Manuel Pellegrini looking set to take charge of the Hammers – despite Rafa being reported as their number one target.
Here’s a snippet from the Scott Wilson’s piece for the Northern Echo, confirming Zenit’s proposal after Robert Mancini’s departure, but insisting that the 58-year-old has no interest in packing his bags for Russia:
“Benitez is aware of outside interest from Zenit St Peterbsurg, with the Russian club searching for a new manager after Roberto Mancini left to take charge of the Italian national side last month.
“Zenit are willing to offer Benitez a lucrative contract and a huge summer transfer budget, but the Newcastle boss does not want to uproot from England to move to St Petersburg.
“He has rebuffed previous interest from China and the Middle East during his time in charge of Newcastle, and is keen to remain in the Premier League.”
The story insists that this does not indicate he’s all set to commit his future to NUFC (despite today’s big claims in the Mirror), stating progress must be made over contract talks to allow that, however it’s further proof that he won’t be prised away easily.
Despite all of our flaws as a football club, he’s too deep into this to pack in for a lucrative move to Russia. Anyone that knows him will know that it’s not just about money when it comes to Rafa Benitez.