Rafa Benitez could leave Newcastle before Christmas according to media claims on Sunday morning.

The club’s own media partner, The Mirror, have put out the story but it all looks a bit desperate…the ‘report’ that is.

With West Ham continuing to struggle in the relegation zone, The Mirror claim Rafa Benitez is who the owners want if they feel it is necessary to get rid of Slaven Bilic.

With the Hammers in the bottom three and away to Liverpool on Sunday, they are approaching Christmas in real trouble.

They then have two home games in the coming days against Burnley and Hull, with the newspaper saying that if there isn’t a decent return of points against these other likely relegation contenders, Bilic could be sacked.

If he (Bilic) did go, the story claims that Rafa Benitez could be ‘tempted to leave’ Newcastle, something that not just Toon fans but most neutrals would find a little unlikely.

This appears to be most likely just a lazy rehash by NUFC’s media partner, of a story ran by The Telegraph three weeks ago.

This is what we published on that story on 22 November 2016:

‘The Telegraph say that potential replacements have already been discussed and a short list drawn up, which includes Rafa Benitez and Eddie Howe. However, the West Ham owners are also said to be realistic and they accept that it would be difficult to persuade either the Newcastle or Bournemouth managers to give up their current jobs.

As well as results, the Hammers hierarchy are also disappointed in the quality of player Bilic has brought in, whilst Howe and Benitez have both impressed in the transfer market.

According to the newspaper, the fallback position if sacking their manager, is to go for one-time Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini. Unlike Rafa Benitez and Eddie Howe, Mancini has been on the open market since being sacked by Inter in August.’

Without getting too carried away with Newcastle’s form and progress this season, you still have to ask why on earth would Rafa put all this care and effort into turning Newcastle around, only to then walk away. Not going to happen.