According to Spanish outlet Don Balon, Newcastle United have identified former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique as a potential replacement should Rafa Benitez leave the club this summer.
Whilst it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the NUFC board are looking at potential options should Benitez walk away from the club this summer, it just seems totally implausible that ex-Barca boss Luis Enrique would be Mike Ashley’s replacement.
Yes Ashley brought in Benitez a few years ago, but if he’s unprepared to give Rafa what he wants this summer (which is the only way he’d leave), why on earth would he make efforts to attract Enrique – an elite manager recently linked with Chelsea and Arsenal.
Don Balon in Spain report that Luis Enrique's is #nufc's top target should Rafa leave this summer
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) April 15, 2018
I’ve read the piece claiming our interest in Enrique and some of it is absolutely priceless. They claim Newcastle are eyeing Enrique as ‘they went to be one of the greats of English football again’, but Ashley would just do his utmost to keep Benitez if that were the case.
Here’s a snippet from the piece by Don Balon so you can read what they’ve had to say for yourselves:
“Chelsea have always been the team that has most tempted him, however, he has not been the only one to knock on the door of FC Barcelona’s ex-coach, who has already rejected Paris Saint Germain.
“The other two proposals that have since English football are those of Arsenal, who seeks a substitute for French coach Arsene Wenger, and Newcastle, who is thinking of supplying Rafa Benitez, who could go to Naples if Maurizio Sarri leaves, with Luis Enrique, since they want to be one of the greats of English football again and the project can be very interesting for the Asturian.”
Perish the thought, but If Rafa leaves and Ashley remains, I think it’s far to say Enrique won’t be arriving at St James’ Park.