The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas has been previewing Sunday’s trip to Leicester, whilst also talking about what could have been with Rafa Benitez.
As Douglas claims below, Rafa Benitez ‘really wanted’ the Leicester job, also stating that Newcastle were ‘very interested’ in bringing current Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers to the club before he took the job at the King Power Stadium.
A case of what might have been. The thought of losing Rafa to a Premier League ‘rival’ was hard to stomach, yet, as it turns out, Rodgers would’ve been a huge upgrade on Bruce.
Not only does Douglas speak about Rodgers and Rafa, but he also suggests Newcastle could have signed two current Leicester City stars, James Maddison and Wilfriend Ndidi (presumably during their time at Norwich and Genk respectively.)
It’s no secret Brendan Rodgers interested the Newcastle hierarchy and there were rumours we had him lined up to replaced Rafa at one stage. Instead they went for Steve Bruce….
Then talking about Ndidi and Maddison. Two fantastic players who would have improved us no end. Imagine if we had them and indeed Rodgers at Newcastle. It’s a world away from our current hopes and ambitions.
Leicester City serve as a stark reminder of what a little ambition and connection with fans can do for a club, so it’s not surprise to hear Rafa was keen on the job, sadly.
I think back to 2nd May 2015, when after being in the bottom 3 all season and being almost certain to go down, they went on an incredible run, and absolutely trounced us 3-0 to condemn us to our 8th consecutive defeat. We survived by the skin of our teeth but went down the next year, and barring the brief hope Rafa brought, we’ve been relegated and limped on under Ashley ever since.
Leicester on the other hand had an unlikely Premier League and are currently on of the best run and most ambitious clubs in the league, despite the tragic death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha last year. They have assembled a fine squad under a fantastic coach in Brendan Rodgers and have a genuine chance of unsettling the established order this season and breaking into the top 6.