Rafa Benitez protege, Mauricio Pellegrino, is in line to land his first Premier League management role according to reports on Thursday morning.

As a player, the one-time central defender had his greatest moments under Rafa at Valencia, twice winning La Liga.

Late in his career, Mauricio Pellegrino was reunited with his old manager, getting a six month contract at Liverpool in 2005 and playing a dozen games before being released and spending a short time at Alaves before retiring.

Part of the Valencia coaching set-up, the former Argentine international then returned to Anfield in 2008 to work as first team coach under Rafa Benitez, before then also moving on to Inter Milan when the pair left Merseyside.

The pair parted ways after the spell at Inter ended in disappointment, with Mauricio Pellegrino eventually getting his first managerial role back at Valencia. This only lasted a few months before he was sacked and then went home to Argentina and managed a couple of clubs as he attempted to rebuild his hopes of making it in management.

A year ago, Pellegrino returned to Europe and took the job at newly promoted Alaves, after guiding them to an impressive ninth it was a major step forward in rebuilding his reputation…only to then resign at the end of the 2016/17 season. The finale of the season seeing Alaves losing out to Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey  last Sunday.

It appears that Mauricio Pellegrino is now keen to keep his upward mobility going and his resignation is due to ambitions of managing in the Premier League this coming season, according to widespread media reports.

Linked with the Leicester job, a more likely opportunity could be at Selhurst Park, with The Sun claiming that Crystal Palace have already spoken to Pellegrino about the job vacated by Sam Allardyce.

It appears unlikely that Rafa’s former first team coach would have thrown in his job at Alaves unless he was confident of landing another role in the very near future.

Aged only 45, Mauricio Pellegrino has plenty of time ahead of him to build a significant management career and interesting that this potential move comes at a time when another former Rafa Benitez, Fabio Pecchia, is set for his first ever season in charge in Serie A with Hellas Verona.

When it comes to tactics, Pellegrino favours a 4-2-3-1 formation, wonder where he picked that one up from…?