Speculation around the future of Rafa Benitez continues to grow.
With a regular Summer switch around of managers at top clubs, until Rafa agrees to extend his contract at Newcastle, sadly there will be chance of these reports ending ant time soon.
Over in Serie A, the media reports are intensifying with regard to the possibility of the Newcastle boss replacing the man now being called the ‘Italian Guardiola’.
Maurizio Sarri is expected to leave Napoli at the end of the season with a host of top clubs keen to take him on.
He has a £7m release clause in his contract and with finances having only gone one way, that is a minimal amount for any top club to pay for the main man at their club.
Ironically, Maurizio Sarri actually replaced Rafa Benitez at Napoli in 2015 when moving from unfashionable Empoli, Rafa’s two year contract coming to an end and the now Newcastle boss choosing not to renew it and move on to Real Madrid.
Napoli finished fifth in that final Benitez season and Sarri has received rave reviews for the job he has done these past three seasons, leading to the ‘Guardiola’ comparisons.
In 2014/15, Napoli scored 70 goals and managed 63 points in finishing fifth.
Under Sarri, they finished second on 82 points (and 80 goals) in 2015/16, then third on 86 points (94 goals) in 2016/17, for so long this season they looked to be set to end Juventus’ six titles in a row run, only to just seem to fall short, they are on 84 points (71 goals) and four behind Juventus with three games to play.
Chelsea are one of the favourites to land the Napoli boss this summer, with Antonio Conte one of the favourites alongside Rafa Benitez to replace him.
Obviously it would be devastating for Newcastle fans if Rafa Benitez did leave for Napoli, or anywhere else, as in any switch around of managers you shudder to think what Mike Ashley would revert to, with Pardew, Carver, and McClaren, having preceded the Spaniard.