I had my doubts about this one, and still struggle to believe he’d leave his family, a high standard of football and competitive league in England for China, but Sky say he is taking their offer seriously.
Sky claim that there has been ‘no sign of a breakthrough’ following contract talks with NUFC chiefs, despite the fact he has just 11 days left until his current deal expires on June 30th.
The piece also states that Rafa is still waiting to be given permission to sign players over the age of 26, with Mike Ashley clearly unwilling to compromise and move away from his current transfer policy.
Here’s a snippet from Sky Sports’ latest piece on the Spaniard’s future:
‘Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez is considering a £12m-a-year offer to manager Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, Sky Sports News understands.
‘Dalian Yifang are willing to make Benitez the best paid coach in the Chinese Super League with an annual salary of £12m.
‘The Spaniard’s current £5m-a-year deal at St James’ Park ends on June 30 with no sign of a breakthrough in his protracted negotiations over a new contract with club owner Mike Ashley.
‘Benitez, who wants to see Newcastle competing for European qualification and silverware, turned down a contract offer last summer.
‘Sky Sports News also understands the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Valencia boss wants to be given the green light to sign players over the age of 26, which has been against club policy in previous years.‘
One thought that entered my head – Is Rafa now trying to show Mike Ashley that he will accept this offer from China happily walk away from the club in a bid to make him buckle and offer improved terms?
That said, I’m not actually sure Ashley cares that much. After all, I think he would’ve made more of an attempt to keep Benitez by now if he really was serious about keeping the 59-year-old on Tyneside.