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Rafa Benitez wants to come back to Newcastle when / if takeover happens – Guillem Balague

5 months ago

Rafa Benitez would love to come back to the Premier League and tackle the ‘unfinished business’ he has at Newcastle United.

Guillem Balague saying that his understanding is that Rafa Benitez will say yes to a return to St James Park but only if the takeover goes ahead, with the same people (Saudi PIF consortium) involved in buying the club.

Balague is a close friend of Benitez’ and has often interviewed him in the past.

Back when the Newcastle United takeover looked imminent earlier this year, the Spanish journalist was a regular commentator on what was going on in the background.

In May, Guillem Balague said (see below) that Rafa Benitez was on the Saudi PIF shortlist to replace Steve Bruce once the takeover was completed. However, he also said at that time, somebody else on the shortlist was clear favourite for the buyers : ‘I know that Pochettino has become the number one target for Newcastle, there is no doubt about that.’

Mauricio Pochettino is of course still waiting for that right project and offer to come along since leaving Tottenham over a year ago now.

The Premier League and Mike Ashley have both confirmed that there is an arbitration process taking place after Ashley engaged Blackstone Chambers barristers to challenge them on what did / didn’t happen this summer with regards to the handling of the takeover issue. With widespread reports saying that the Saudi PIF are also still keen on buying Newcastle United if the Premier League shift their position.

As Guillem Balague also said back in May (see below), a takeover is essential for Newcastle United to have any future, as it is quite obvious that both Mike Ashley and the Newcastle fans ‘despise’ each other.

As always, here’s hoping on positive change happening at last at St James Park.

Guillem Balague speaking on his YouTube channel – 24 November 2020:

“I would say he would like to come to the Premier League.

“He’s doing a good job in China, no doubt about that. But he cannot compete, as he cannot get the best Chinese players.

“He would love to come to the Premier League.

“My answer would be ‘yes’ [to a return to Newcastle United] if the takeover takes place and if it’s the same people taking over the club and still want him.

“He would say yes to the possibility of going back to Newcastle as there is still unfinished business there.”

Guillem Balague speaking on his YouTube account – 6 May 2020:

“I think Pochettino would like to go to a top club in Europe but there are no top clubs available – that could be PSG, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Real Madrid – they are not available.

“So the plan has been, until the big appearance of Newcastle, to stay put and wait for that opportunity to arise.

“I know that Pochettino has become the number one target for Newcastle, there is no doubt about that.

“What would I do in his position?

“Perhaps what he is doing now, just listening. If anybody calls, lets see what this project of Newcastle is about.

“Right now, everybody expects it to go through. So Saudi Arabia and the (Public Investment) Fund (of Saudi Arabia) would be in place to make all the changes they want to do.

“What do they want to do?

“They want to do another (Manchester) City but not in 10 years, they want to do it much much quicker.

“They will have to deal with Financial Fair Play and perhaps it would be better in my eyes to have a coach like Rafa Benitez, that could put the foundations of the club for somebody like Pochettino with then everything in place as a big club, with a changed mentality, to put them in the next step.

“In any case, what I know for sure is that Pochettino, Rafa Benitez and Allegri are the three names on the table for Newcastle.

“They want to convince one of them, or Nagelsmann of course, so actually one of those four.

“I believe Rafa Benitez hasn’t got a call yet.

“I know that Pochettino is aware of the interest, very aware of the interest, even before Sky Sports came out with the story.

“Pochettino is the number one target.”

Guillem Balague writing in the Sport back on 16 May 2020:

‘The Newcastle fans are about to get rid of an owner who despises them.

The feeling is mutual, of course. Mike Ashley believes that he has done a lot for the club (investing his time and money, mainly) and that this should be returned in appreciation and acceptance of his strange decisions.

I am not talking about vomiting over a fireplace after a new night of drunkenness in a city pub , but rather, for example, not renewing Rafa Benítez despite the fact that he was looking for a better performance from the club. After several sale attempts, he is about to hand over ownership to a Saudi consortium led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who will own 80 percent of the club. 

The idea is to make a Manchester City (acquired by Qatari royalty) and not so much a PSG (in the hands of the Abu Dhabi government), that is to say to make all the possible investment in the squad but also to create a spectacular infrastructure that improves the club and the city.

Financial fair play will prevent Newcastle from becoming a City at the same speed as Manchester because they were able to start the transformation before the economic limits imposed by UEFA and the Premier reached.

Newcastle will be able to spend a net €30million (£26.8m) a year (the difference between revenue and expenses) over the next three seasons. Although the buyer will send in the market due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus, it will cost to pay for great figures to reach a team that today is one of the ten worst in the Premier. Gareth Bale, one of the footballers who has sounded the most to reinforce the magpies, to begin with, will not go there.

In any case they want to convince a prestigious coach to give the impression that they are serious. Mauricio Pochettino is first on the list, followed by Rafa Benítez, Massimiliano Allegri and Julian Nagelsmann.

The entry of governments from affluent countries has changed the internal rules of soccer; historical clubs, let’s say, can no longer compete against them. Saudi Arabia has an aggravating factor: it has a trail of attacks on human rights and ethical doubts that make it truly difficult to applaud the face-lift they seek in the Premier.

But it will take advantage of the fact that the English League reinvented itself to obtain economic benefits; that is, there are no serious processes to prevent the arrival of dubious money.’


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