After takeover talks were deemed ‘off’ last week, Benitez has since admitted that he’s been given the ‘green light’ from Ashley to start bringing in some much needed signings.
Talk of a Staveley takeover collapsing left us worried about Benitez’s future at the club, and rightly so under Ashley’s wretched regime, however I wonder if Mike has finally decided to pull his finger out in the transfer window in a bit to keep Benitez happy? He knows that Rafa is the club’s biggest asset at present, so losing him would massively jeopardise our Premier League status and potential buyer’s interest in taking over.
After all, when you look at the potential candidates to replace Rafa from football betting odds, you would like to think even a man of Ashley’s incompetence would realise how much of a blow it would be to lose him:
Odds for the next #NUFC manager make pretty grim reading here..
Makes you wonder if Mike Ashley's suddenly pulled his finger out (green light for transfers & contract talks) as he realises the club can't afford to lose him.. pic.twitter.com/nGsqfgOD6Z
— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) January 23, 2018
Paddy Power are currently offering the best price for Mark Hughes to replace Rafa according to Odds Comparison service, with the ex-Stoke manager currently standing as favourite at 11/2.
Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill and ex-Sunderland and Aston Vill boss Martin O’Neill are then joint second favourites. Two uninspiring options, yet both coming in at 10/1.
Then there’s ex-Croatia and West Ham manager Slaven Bilic at 14/1 and recently sacked Middlesbrough manager Garry Monk priced at 16/1. There’s a theme here – manager’s who’ve recently been sacked..
Some interesting candidates in the 20/1 bracket then follow, with former NUFC captain Kevin Nolan, Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, ex-Everton boss Ronaldo Koeman and former Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel all in the mix.
Some less glamorous names then enter the fray further down the list, with Steve McClaren (50/1), Alan Shearer (50/1), Joe Kinnear (50/1) and John Carver (100/1) mentioned.
Even a trio of former Sunderland managers make the list, with Steve Bruce (33/1), Roy Keane (50/1) and Paolo Di Canio (100/1) somehow having their names thrown into the hat, albeit at high odds.
Then come the comical ones, with Paul Gascoigne priced at 175/1 and famous Geordie TV presenters Ant and Dec are priced at 2000/1 for a joint management of the club! I know a few people hit the jackpot when putting a few quid on Leicester to win the title in the 2015/16 season, but we don’t see the ‘I’m a Celebrity’ hosts swapping TV for tactics on Tyneside anytime soon!
In all seriousness though, this is an uninspiring list and perhaps the grim reality of what life could be like at Newcastle if Rafa were to leave. Time for Ashley to bring home the bacon and do what’s right by Rafa to keep afloat in this fight for survival.