All the talk in Italy has been of Rafa Benitez returning to Napoli.

Managing the Italian club from 2013-2015, at the end of his two year deal, Rafa chose to leave and take the Real Madrid job.

His replacement at Napoli, Maurizio Sarri, has done a great job but still hasn’t been able to break the Juventus stranglehold. This season Napoli only lost three Serie A games all season but despite finishing 14 points clear of third place, they were still four points behind Juventus.

Indeed, the last trophies won by the club were under Rafa Benitez, the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa (beating Juventus on penalties) in 2014.

With Sarri looking certain to leave, probably to Chelsea, recent media reports had claimed the Newcastle manager had even already held talks with Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis, head of a return this summer.

However, in an interview with Italian media, Rafa Benitez has now revealed that the media reports are fantasy, that he has held no talks with anybody at Napoli.

Indeed the Spaniard has declared that he has no intention of moving back to Italy, saying ‘My priority is to stay in England’, with one of the main reasons for that being ‘I have to manage my family.’

Even better for Newcastle United fans is that Rafa says that NUFC have ‘made me some offers to stay here for a few more years’ and that he is ‘only talking to Newcastle right now.’

The message is clear, and simply repeats what he has said many times before, Rafa Benitez is desperate to stay at St James Park BUT will only do so if Mike Ashley allows the manager the right backing to try and make the club competitive.

Sunday’s post-match statement from Mike Ashley not exactly a positive, when he should be communicating direct with Rafa Benitez, if he is in any way serious about doing the right thing.

Rafa Benitez talking to CalcioNapoli24:

“Many of these Napoli players who have been together for five years, have the advantage of understanding each other, without even looking at each other

“This gives them an advantage and, with the work of Sarri, the team did well, although they didn’t win any trophies, perhaps because Juventus are so strong.

“We won a trophy against them and it wasn’t easy, but they have the ability to improve themselves in the transfer market.

“They always remain at the top, while it’s different at Napoli: in order to buy quality, you have to take risks.

“They went close this season, but Juventus are very strong and in order to beat them, you have to be close to perfection.

“After that, you must have that so-called winning mentality because when you’re under pressure, those with more experience can make the difference.

“My future? I’ve heard so much talk, but I haven’t spoken to De Laurentiis: I have a contract with Newcastle, I’m talking to them about my renewal.

“They made me some offers to stay here for a few more years, plus I have to manage my family: if I decided to go to Newcastle and stay there, even in the Championship, it’s also because of my family.

“My priority is to stay in England. I’m only talking to Newcastle right now.”

  • mentalman

    It’ll be his agents talking to the other clubs at this stage

  • Rich Lawson

    For a change,seems quite positive ?

    • nufcslf

      As much as I don’t believe a word Cashley says and wouldn’t put anything past him, I do think for the first time he has dug a bit of a hole for himself and might just have to take a different approach. More fans and even sheep than ever might turn on him with another one of his backward thinking decisions. Wait and see, I suppose.

      • Come&TakeIt1836

        MA appears to have no moral burden at times to speak plainly. And for all the ‘black and white’ in bookkeeping, finance and accounting reports allow for plenty of gray. The “have every penny” statement sounds black and white but becomes rather gray.

        I am no ‘sheep’ (I’m not even sure I’d be called one but I’m responding nonetheless…it could be argued there are plenty of ‘sheep’ on either side of an MA debate) as I am quite capable of thinking logically for myself. The arguments posted on ‘The Mag’ (not implying you) are often illogical to the business world and poorly thought out. I disagree with them and get called all sorts of things because I don’t join ‘The Mob’. That said, I really do not doubt money will be made available in quantities that dwarf some recent windows (even before player sales gets added in). This is not a ‘different approach’ as spending when you have it and not when you don’t isn’t really new. However, business budget planning can be agressive or conservative and this where the concern of the gray of ‘every penny’ comes in.

        The £125M being received now (plus next year’s game day gates and possibly some commercial income) has to cover all of the wage bills, any investments made over the next year, and the club’s operational cash needs until next May. If a conservative approach is taken (maybe perceived to help insulate for bad luck), then the amount available for this window will be less. I’m not advocating an agressive approach where nothing is held in reserve. The correct amount, however, becomes a subjective matter somewhere in between.

        As you say, if MA takes too conservative of an approach, I could come across as having turned on him. As before, I will seek to understand, investigate reports, analyze numbers and strategies, (think for myself), and then share my thoughts. If it aligns with ‘the mob’, it will be because of my ideas and not because I’ve started following others.

        • nufcslf

          No season ticket money, no walk ups and an emplty ground would embarrass and shift the fat c** t is my only real argument. I say sheep refering to the fact football….not just the toon….has become just plain trendy and allows the Cashley’s of the world to exist. I just hope he has f**ked himself this time if he forces Rafa to walk as it seems the majority want him to stay. Cashley is rotten to the core and his stab at 2 and now on to his 3rd 5 year plan has simply passed it’s buy sell date just like him time ruining the club.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    The Keystone Cops we have at the cloob will have to get their fingers out to keep hold of Rafa !

  • Mxpx

    Since we know Mike Ashley doesn’t talk to rafa I wonder which club he’s talking to… Maybe arsenal ?