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George Caulkin now backs up The Times exclusive on Rafa Benitez situation from earlier today

4 weeks ago
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Earlier today we brought you news of a breaking story from The Times, regarding Rafa Benitez.

Sports reporter Gary Jacob revealing/claiming (see below) that a £12m a year offer to Rafa Benitez had been made by Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League.

He also stated that Rafa has actually been offered a new one year deal by Newcastle United ‘but has been unable to agree terms, or secure commitments from the club about how his transfer budget is spent.’

When I wrote that piece, I added at the end that it would be ‘interesting to see if George Caulkin, the newspaper’s man in the north east, adds anything to the story today.’

George is without doubt the journalist covering Newcastle United, who the fans most trust.

With it being a colleague from The Times and if George Caulkin had thought the story lacked credibility, he could have easily quoted the fifth amendment (the right not to say anything).

However, he has been happy to discuss the article on his personal Twitter account and backed up the story, saying that the report is a ‘big concern’ and that ‘Chinese clubs have been courting Benitez for a few weeks and offering to double his money.’

George Caulkin adds that there is ‘Still no sign of an agreement with Newcastle United…’ and that ‘Negotiations have been at stalemate.’

The north east man from The Times also sees it as very unlikely that any potential takeover of the club will be finalised this month, meaning we reach that key landmark of Rafa’s contract running out and then who knows what will happen.

Some interesting detail added by George Caulkin and his colleague from The Times and it very much fits in with the overall picture that Newcastle fans are seeing, a summer where literally anything could happen. On the one hand no takeover, no Rafa, no change in direction from the club, right through to Rafa staying and given license by new owners to make rapid progress with the team/club.

When it comes to offers from China, fair to say we would see it as very unlikely for Rafa Benitez to end up there BUT with anything at Newcastle United, we have learned that we should never say never.

With Rafa Benitez holding all the aces and able to dictate terms with prospective Chinese clubs. I do wonder if everything goes wrong with Newcastle and he has no compelling alternatives offered in the likes of Spain or Italy, whether just maybe Rafa could agree a short-term contract until the end of the Chinese Super League season (it runs from 1 March to 1 December 2019) and maybe then wait and see if offers come in during next season from a club(s) that would interest him, or of course he might find the lifestyle in China suits him…

Here’s hoping none of that speculation comes to pass and we see the cards falling in our favour for once very quickly, Rafa Benitez along new owners at St James Park.

George Caulkin commenting via his Twitter account:

“This, from Gary Jacob, is a big concern.

“Chinese clubs have been courting Benitez for a few weeks and offering to double his money.

“Still no sign of an agreement with Newcastle United …

“I see anything that isn’t a contract extension with NUFC as a big concern. Negotiations have been at stalemate.

“Might this coming out focus minds?

“It’s possible, but equally we’re right at the end game now.

“…what he wants more than anything else is to work. This is the gamble Newcastle United are taking.

“Whatever happens with takeover, nothing is likely to be fully completed before Rafa’s contract expires. That’s the concern. And what about if the takeover doesn’t happen?

“There are at least two bidders who claim they’re in advanced negotiations.

“But there’s no exclusivity and the formalities of completing a deal can take weeks. And none of that means something will definitely happen.

“I don’t think he wants to (go to China), but he wants and needs to work, that’s just how he’s wired.

“And there aren’t many alternatives at the moment.

“If I was him (Rafa Benitez), I’d wait and see what happens (at Newcastle United), but that’s easy for me to say.”

The Mag – Earlier today (18 June 2019):

Tuesday morning has brought news  that Rafa Benitez has been offered a £12m a year contract elsewhere.

The (current….) Newcastle manager sees his three year NUFC contract run out in 12 days time and no word yet on whether there is any chance of him staying on.

With no conclusion either way on the ownership of Newcastle United, fans have been hoping that things are going on behind the scenes that will see everything (owner, manager, new signings) fall into place. However, as the clock ticks on, the stress levels are understandably rising.

The £12m a year offer to Rafa Benitez has come from Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League.

The fact that this news comes from The Times rather than certain other newspapers, makes it a bit more difficult to dismiss.

It doesn’t mean that Rafa Benitez would necessarily take any such offer, if there is substance in it, and indeed he has been offered deals by other Chinese clubs in the past.

The Times, just as interestingly, also say that Rafa has actually been offered a new one year deal by Newcastle United ‘but has been unable to agree terms, or secure commitments from the club about how his transfer budget is spent.’

The report adds that The Times’ information is that Mike Ashley are now in advanced talks with at least two potential buyers but still no conclusion in sight.

If Rafa Benítez were to accept the Dalian Yifang offer, he would become the highest paid manager in China, overtaking Fabio Cannavaro, at Guangzhou Evergrande coach, who earns £11 million.

The newspaper states that Dalian Yifang are backed by Wang Jianlin, who is the fourth richest man in China and worth £17.2 billion at the last count.

He sold his 17% stake in Atletico Madrid last year with Jianlin said to want to concentrate all his efforts on Dalian Yifang.

The club appointed Choi Kang-hee in February but have lost six of their 13 league games so far this season.

Rafa Benitez has often said how part of the attraction of Newcastle United is that it allows him to be close to the family home in the north west.

No doubt many Newcastle fans will be happy to write off the possibility of Rafa Benitez being interested in a Chinese club, as opposed to one in the Premier League, or even the likes of an offer from Spain or Italy.

However, unless there is major positive chance at St James Park, it looks all but impossible that he would stay on and work under the same limitations as these past years under Mike Ashley.

Something must surely happen soon, whether that is positive or negative for Newcastle fans, nobody can be confident either way as it stands.

This report has come from Gary Jacob who is a sports reporter at The Times, interesting to see if George Caulkin, the newspaper’s man in the north east, adds anything to the story today.

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