According to the London Evening Standard, Rafa Benitez would be willing to move south and sign for West Ham if they ‘present the right package’ – claiming that he’s looking for an £80m budget at NUFC but is not receiving the assurances he needs from Mike Ashley.
I’ve been a firm believer that Benitez would not swap us for a pretty uninspiring and odd move to West Ham (a club in a mess, whose owners aren’t much better than ours), however this is quite a concerning read.
It’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t right now, but if this is to be believed, Benitez will pack up his bags and join the London club if they offer him what Mike Ashley is not.
Here’s some of the key bits from the Evening Standard’s latest piece on Benitez and West Ham’s interest:
“West Ham are poised to bring Rafa Benitez to the London Stadium – providing they make the right offer.
“Benitez is in talks about his future with Lee Charnley, the managing director at St James’ Park, but is not receiving the assurances he needs to remain in the north east.
“The former Liverpool manager is weighing up a number of offers but prefers to remain in the Premier League. If West Ham present the right package, Benitez would be willing to move south.”
They then go on to claim that he’s asking for £80m to spend this summer (something he seems so unlikely to get), also claiming that he’s got good relationship with West Ham, despite his move to the Hammers collapsing after late interest from Real Madrid in 2015:
“It is understood he is looking for an £80m transfer budget at St James’ Park this summer.
“Benitez remains West Ham’s first choice and there remains a degree of mutual respect following the club’s failed attempt to land him in 2015, following the departure of Sam Allardyce.
“West Ham were close to landing their man then but Real Madrid joined the chase and the deal fell through.
“Benitez has since said: “I have a lot of respect for West Ham because, when I was in contact with them, they were really good and professional.”
I imagine budget is a factor for Rafa, but it’s naive of the reporters here to think that may be the only thing he’s demanding. From what I’ve read from several trusted North-East writers, Benitez is wanting control and the ability to spend his budget on who he wants when he wants – not so much demanding huge war chests.
It’s a pretty horrible situation and one that has only been worsened by these claims from the capital.
It was always going to come to this, but the big worry is that it can only solved if Ashley bucks his ideas up and agrees to give Rafa what he needs – and he’s currently on holiday!