Rafa Benitez has been lined up for a move to China.
That is if you believe the latest ‘exclusive’ from The Mirror (see below).
The newspaper reports that ‘a source close to the Chinese game’ has told them he is likely to be swapping Newcastle United for a Chinese Super League.
I wonder which Chinese takeaway the source/sauce works at?
You have to give The Mirror credit, not for having a scoop but for their perseverance in running stories claiming a move to another club is imminent for Rafa Benitez.
Rafa had only been at Newcastle nine months when The Mirror ‘revealed’ (in December 2016) he was taking over at West Ham (see below).
Then two months later (mid-February 2017) the very same newspaper then declared it was actually Arsenal that Benitez was taking over at.
Only for days later announcing ‘Rafa Benitez is set to go to China at the end of the season.’
They have made other similar claims in these past 18 months as it is an easy story to write, everybody knowing how Mike Ashley is undermining his manager. However, claiming to have this inside information on a move(s) is just plain embarrassing.
Once again, if/when Rafa Benitez leaves Newcastle United, he won’t be going to China. A major factor in choosing Newcastle was that he would be near his family home in the north west, that is the north west of England, not China…
This weekend’s ‘exclusive’ from The Mirror:
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez lined up for shock move to Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez is a target for Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian next summer.
Top clubs in China have been closely monitoring the uncertainty over Benitez’s future.
And mid-table Quanjian, where the Portuguese former Leicester, Swansea and QPR boss Paulo Sousa has been in charge since last November, are prepared to wait for Benitez.
The Spaniard is in the final year of his Toon contract and has still not agreed a new deal – despite being offered fresh terms.
Chinese sides have been interested in Benitez for around 18 months and the former Liverpool and Chelsea boss could expect an astronomical salary in the Far East, possibly as much as £30m a year.
The hire-and-fire approach in China means big-name managers are always in demand.
And a source close to the Chinese game said:
“Tianjin Quanjian could be interested in Rafa at the end of the season when he would be free as things stand.
“Clubs in China are still monitoring his situation, especially with him not signing a contract. A manager here can lose two games and be out, so any of the top clubs could be interested.’’
Shanghai Shenhua’s Chinese boss Wu Jingui is one of the managers under pressure after only one win in six games.
The Mag – 26 February 2017:
Headlines from The Mirror:
December 2016: Rafa Benitez is set to join West Ham.
Mid-February 2017: Rafa Benitez is in line to replace Arsene Wenger.
Late February 2017: Rafa Benitez is set to go to China at the end of the season because two Chinese Super League clubs have prepared offers to make him the best paid manager in the World.
Rafa Benitez is in line to become the highest paid Manager in the World.
That is if you believe Newcastle United’s official media partner.
However, it won’t be Mike Ashley who would be agreeing the wage rise.
Instead, The Mirror claim that their information is that two (unnamed) Chinese Super League clubs have made clear that they will be offering Rafa Benitez the £600,000 a week (£30m a year) deal, if he is willing to leave Newcastle United.
The report/story also goes with the line that Rafa is still furious that Mike Ashley wouldn’t back him in the January transfer window and that in contrast he would have an ‘unlimited transfer budget’, if he agreed to take up one of these alleged £30m offers that will be made.
Rafa Benitez was clearly far from happy when Newcastle failed to sign any of his list of transfer targets, even on loan, in the summer – but whether that equates to being interested in putting his career on hold and/or bringing it to an end for a barrel of money in China, is quite another thing.
Nobody knows what the Newcastle Manager’s intentions are but he had no choice but to carry on after that January window.
Rafa Benitez is clearly intent on getting this promotion task completed, rather than having a major black mark on his CV, then at the end of the season he would have no shortage of offers if he did decide to leave Tyneside.
Newcastle fans of course are desperate for him to stay and the former Real Madrid boss has been the total professional and given no indication he intends to leave, no matter what went on in January.
Having done all of this preparation work, it is difficult to imagine Rafa not fancying another real go at the Premier League assuming promotion, just so as long as Mike Ashley treats him right…
One attraction of the Newcastle job was that Rafa Benitez was in relatively easy travelling distance from his family home on Merseyside, so no matter how much money may or may not be on offer in China, that would be another major hurdle to any claimed move.