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I just find this Rafa Benitez ‘Exclusive’ return to Newcastle United (with 2 new signings!) story baffling

2 years ago

No surprise to see Rafa Benitez linked to Newcastle United.

The prospect of imminent new wealthy owners leading to predictable daily mentions suggesting that the Spaniard is one of the people under consideration, when / if the takeover is completed.

Indeed, these entire 11 months since he was forced out by Mike Ashley, rarely has there been a few days gone by when there hasn’t been one or more articles suggesting Rafa Benitez will one day return to St James Park.

With the ambitions of the club set to climb significantly with the takeover, it goes without saying that a huge priority will be replacing Steve Bruce ASAP with a credible top class manager.

So it is apt that today we are seeing this new ‘exclusive’ from The Telegraph being circulated around the media, 15 years to the day since Rafa Benitez oversaw that astonishing Champions League triumph in Istanbul.

The Telegraph headlines declaring:

‘Exclusive: Rafael Benitez wants to make his second coming at Newcastle United’

‘Spaniard also keen on signing John Stones and Ross Barkley if he returns from Chinese Super League’

Now I don’t know about you but I can’t say I see many football exclusives, especially Newcastle United ones, that turn out to have any truth in them.

So I just find this Rafa Benitez ‘Exclusive’ return to Newcastle United (with two new signings!) story baffling.

Not just one exclusive but actually a three for the price of one.

Call me Mr Cynical but how on earth would the Telegraph journalist know all of this? That Rafa Benitez wants to come back to Newcastle this summer AND wants to sign Ross Barkley and John Stones?

In the article / exclusive there is absolute no claim that Rafa Benitez has been spoken to, or indeed not even suggestions of speaking to ‘sources’ close to him.

So is this just a case of stating the absolute obvious that we all know? Rafa Benitez only ended up in China because no jobs at ambitious European clubs that would appeal to the now 60 year old, were available at the time. So is there anybody anywhere, who thinks Rafa would turn down a return to Newcastle under rich ambitious new owners, if the job was offered and he could extricate himself from Dalian Yifang?

As for Stones and Barkley, is this just a case of adding on player targets based on players Rafa Benitez has been linked with before…because unless somebody has spoken to Rafa or a ‘source’ close to him, how would they know which players, if any, are on the Spaniard’s short list ahead of a potential return to Tyneside?

There is actually a fourth exclusive (or at least a reminder of it) in the piece.

The newspaper claiming that the new owners will give Steve Bruce the chance to make the Newcastle job his own after the takeover. I’m sorry but that really is impossible to believe…

The Telegraph:

‘Rafael Benítez is keen to make an emotional return to Newcastle United under a new Saudi Arabian-backed ownership with John Stones and Ross Barkley among the players the Spaniard would like to take with him.

The proposed £300 million takeover could be resolved this week, which will increase the speculation over the future of manager Steve Bruce and potential signings in the next transfer window.

Telegraph Sport has already reported that Bruce will be backed until at least the end of the season and given the opportunity to remain as manager beyond that, while no shortlists have been drawn up over possible replacements or big-money signings.

But it is understood that Benítez, currently manager of Dalian Professional in China, is interested in making a return under a new ownership in a move that would delight Newcastle fans.

Benítez was idolised by Newcastle supporters during his three years at the club before he left when his contract expired last summer. The main obstacle to a potential return would be the combined costs of his Dalian pay-off and salary.

Newcastle’s interest in the duo may not be reliant on Benítez returning, as Stones and Barkley would also no doubt be attractive to Bruce, Pochettino or any other potential manager.’


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