According to the Times, Newcastle have started making “internal contingency plans” incase Rafa Benitez leaves this summer – with David Wagner and Brendan Rodgers believes to be two early contenders to replace the Spaniard.
With Rafa technically all set to leave at the end of May if no new contract is agreed, I can see why such plans would be considered, however I take this with a real pinch of salt.
It’s obvious that the club would prefer to see a manager of Benitez’s calibre continue on as manager and it’s clear that Rafa would like to stay and sign a new contract.
It will all come down to how prepared Ashley is to compromise regarding transfer funds and training ground improvements, but I personally see Rafa staying – even if it is only a short-term deal that he signs.
Here’s a snippet from Matt Hughes’ piece for the Times over the weekend:
“David Wagner has joined Brendan Rodgers among the leading contenders to replace Rafa Benítez as Newcastle United manager if he leaves the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.
“Newcastle want Benítez to stay, but have yet to reopen contract talks after the Spaniard rejected two offers of five-year and one-year deals last summer, and the club are making contingency plans should he depart.
“Wagner is available after leaving Huddersfield Town last month and has emerged in discussions at Newcastle as an alternative to Rodgers, who has long been the favourite but has more than two years left on his contract at Celtic.”
Both are respectable managers, but neither are Rafa Benitez. Wagner worked wonders at Huddersfield, although he could only light their spark for so long, while Rodgers has had plenty of success at Celtic following an entertaining stint with Liverpool – with him coming close delivering a Premier League title in 2013/14.
Let’s hope an agreement can be reached regarding Rafa’s future. Staying up may be the priority right now, but Benitez’s future is a lingering worry that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.