A few worrying claims and mixed messages have emerged today from TWO separate Rafa Benitez interviews.
One states he’s ‘in the dark’ about any takeover bid (and his own future) and another sees him admit that, despite his wish to stay at Newcastle, he ‘doesn’t know’ what will happen over the next few months.
Starting with his chat with Peter Smith in Madrid, the ITV reporter has revealed this morning that the Spaniard said he was is ‘in the dark’ about both his future and any potential takeover bid from the Bin Zayed Group:
“Interesting chat with Rafa Benitez. He’s still in the dark about his future at Newcastle & any takeover bid.”
This is worrying to hear. We’re now over two weeks on from his crunch meeting with Mike Ashley in London, yet, in typical Newcastle United fashion, the events of the last fortnight has managed to make his future more unclear – rather than settle something that should’ve been sorted as soon as our Premier League safety was secured in April.
Then to his chats with Sky Sports Italia and Calciomercato over the Champions League weekend in Madrid – interviews which featured plenty discussion about his future at Newcastle and a potential return to Italy.
Here’s what he had to say when asked about new links with the Roma job by Sky Italy:
“I have excellent memories of Milan and Naples, but now I think of Newcastle, where there is still a lot of work to do,”
“I’d prefer not to talk about that at the moment. My friends told me several rumours about Serie A interest. I like Italian football, that much is clear, but I don’t know as of today what will happen,”
“I still watch a lot of Serie A football; I remain in contact with several players I worked with there and hold very good memories of my time in Italy.”
And then to his chat with fellow Italian outlet Calciomercatio, who asked why he refused an approach from former club Napoli this time last summer:
“I had a contract with Newcastle and was happy there, especially as my family loves being in England,”
“Now I am open to new possibilities, I don’t know what will happen over the next couple of months, but obviously Napoli are very happy with Carlo Ancelotti now.
“I am proud of what we achieved at Napoli, as the team played well and won two trophies, which is not easy. I also ran into some Napoli fans here in Madrid who remembered me with great fondness.”
Rafa’s comments are a clear sign that things aren’t sorted and that his situation needs to be resolved ASAP in the coming days, but the amount of conflicting reports on both a takeover and Benitez’s future have been mind-boggling today.
The Mirror claimed in an ‘exclusive’ that Sheikh Khaled wants Mourinho or Wenger if he buys the club – not Benitez – the Chronicle reckon contract talks are now ‘close to a conclusion and there’s some saying a takeover bid is in doubt, while others say Ashley’s hopeful of a deal.
What a mess. The clock is ticking – both in the transfer window and regarding Rafa’s future – so we can not afford to be sitting here this time next week with the same degree of uncertainty surrounding the club.
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About Olly Hawkins
Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.