Rafa Benitez has ruled out an early return to the Premier League, all but ending West Ham, Arsenal and Everton’s hopes of appointing the Spaniard.
The former Newcastle boss was Sky Sports’ special guest on Monday Night Football last night, and faced inevitable questions from Jamie Carragher about a potential return to England.
Here’s what he had to say in response to rumours he could quit Dalian Yifang and return to the top flight:
“Obviously in the future I would like to come back to the Premier League because I like the league, but at the moment I can be very clear.
“There’s no chance I will come back now because I’m really happy. [I’m] really pleased they trust me, we have a lot of staff working in a big project.
“People will say the league is different. Yes it’s different, it’s another level. But the owner behind Dalian Yifang is a massive company and they want to change everything.
“We are in charge of the kids aged six-years-old through to the first team, and we want to leave a legacy. It’s a challenge for me, I’m learning a lot and it’s a great experience.
“I’m quite happy at the moment.”
So, it’s “no chance” for now – but it’s clear he plans to come back to the Premier League once his 2-year contract in China expires.
West Ham had been heavily tipped to move for the former Toon boss should Manuel Pellegrini fail to turn things around, while manager-less Everton and Arsenal have also been linked with bids to bring the Spaniard back to England.
That said, with him on big bucks in China and a world-record buyout in excess of £20m said to exist in his current deal, any attempt to bring him back would’ve been incredibly expensive!
Maybe we’ll see him back in a few years, but it seems he’s happy working on his ‘project’ in China for now – and I’m not surprised on that money!