According to the Telegraph’s Luke Edwards, Rafa Benitez has reached the point where he is ‘looking for an excuse to stay’ at Newcastle – suggesting that he’s yet to ‘convince himself that he wants to leave’.
It sounds about right to me. For all the talk that Rafa’s been at ‘breaking point’ at different stages over the last few years, he’s always remained – so it’s clear he now feels very much attached to this club, his players and our supporters.
Here’s what Luke Edwards has had to say during his insightful piece for the Telegraph:
‘Benitez has engineered this position because he needs bargaining power. He does not trust owner Mike Ashley, but neither has he convinced himself that he wants to leave. If anything, Benitez has reached the point where he is looking for an excuse to stay. That should make a positive outcome easier to reach.
‘Yet, there remains a nagging fear that a split will occur in June because Ashley is too stubborn to be challenged, too stupid to realise he will not get a better manager and too resentful of Benitez’s ability to sway public opinion to give the Spaniard the assurances that he wants.’
I do think he’ll walk this summer if the offer put to him are woefully short of his expectations, but I think he’ll be prepared to compromise if it means he can remain at the club and at least see things steadily improve?
There was also an interesting line further down this intriguing piece in the Telegraph, suggesting Benitez could yet agree to a ‘one-year rolling contract’ l that would see him walk if any of Ashley’s promises were broken:
‘If he remains suspicious about Ashley’s long-term goals, that should still not prevent him from a signing a one-year rolling contract that means, if promises are broken, he can leave without financial penalty.
‘As dysfunctional as their relationship has been, it can still become a marriage of convenience that keeps everyone happy. It is in everyone’s interest to make this happen, which means, for all of the misgivings and manoeuvrings, it probably will in the end.’
A one year contract could be the most realistic option if Rafa isn’t given terms that allow him to commit in the long-term, although the Chronicle did claim just this week that he isn’t interested in a short-term deal that offers no ‘vision’ moving forward.
Time will tell, but it seems Benitez is giving Ashley every opportunity to keep him at the club!