Late last night, the Sun reported that Rafa Benitez would be offered the Newcastle United job should Amanda Staveley’s Saudi Arabia-backed consortium complete a deal with Mike Ashley.
It’s an easy story to make up for clicks and quite possibly a case of the Sun putting 2 and 2 together and making 5, but the Northern Echo’s Scott Wilson has since revealed what Benitez would do should any new owners attempt to bring him back.
He states the Spaniard would “jump at the chance” to return to St James’ Park under new ownership – despite saying he is committed to his ‘project’ with Chinese side Dalian Yifang.
They also report that he’s ‘close’ to Staveley – with it suggested he was a big part of her plans during a failed attempt to buy the club two years ago.
Here’s a snippet from Scott Wilson’s piece, which also confirms that Mike Ashley is due to land in England TODAY to ‘assess his next move’:
‘If a successful takeover goes through, it has been suggested their first move could be to remove head coach Steve Bruce and reinstall Rafael Benitez, whose tenure as Newcastle manager ended last summer.
‘Benitez is known to be close to Staveley, and while the Spaniard has publicly insisted he remains committed to his current role as manager of Chinese side Dalian Yifang, he would jump at the chance of a return to St James’ Park under new ownership.‘
Without wanting to get ahead of ourselves, it would be VERY difficult to know what any new ambitious billionaire owners would do with Steve Bruce should they complete a takeover.
He’s done a brilliant job and currently has us in a better position in the table than Rafa did during his last two seasons in the top flight at this stage, but I get the feeling most Newcastle fans would have Benitez back in a heartbeat if he returned via the backing of silly-rich new owners.
It may never come to that, but if a Saudi takeover does somehow materialise and Benitez is targeted, we’ve had worse dilemmas..