Benitez Was Within Three Hours Of Joining West Ham

There was news originating in the Telegraph yesterday that Slaven Bilic will be sacked if he cannot win one of the next two games at Manchester United on Sunday or at home to Arsenal the next weekend.

And it seems that Rafa Benitez is their top choice if they do dispense with the Croatian’s services.

That’s hardly surprising given that the Hammers held detailed discussions with the Spaniard in June of last year and according to co-owner David Sullivan they had agreed everything to do with the contract and Rafa was ready to sign.

But then in came Real Madrid with an offer Rafa couldn’t refuse and he ended up managing his home town club in Madrid.


Rafa Benitez – Newcastle are number one?

Both co-owners don’t exactly keep things very secret and last August after they had signed Slaven Bilic as their new manager to replace Sam Allardyce,  David Sullivan said they were within three hours of signing Benitez.

This is what he said to the Evening Standard in late August of last year:

“Rafa Benitez was within three hours of signing for us.”

“Every clause in his contract was agreed and then he went to Real Madrid. It was a real blow because he is a really experienced manager in England and done really well in Italy.”

“We had an agreement in place but you have to pick yourself up, look who else is available and pick the best you can.”

“Whoever you take is a gamble. The bottom line is we have a manager. Bilic has our 100% support.”

“We will support him in the transfer market. We like him.”

We haven’t found any statements that Rafa has made over the last 24 hours to say he has recommitted to Newcastle, but on the other hand we would also be very surprised if he wants to join the Hammers.

Rafa is loved on Tyneside and the club is getting over 50,000 crowds at the home games and the Newcastle fans are showing why they are the best in the business.

We are top of the Championship  and have won 9 games in a row, so if Rafa doesn’t make any specific statement on his future in the next couple of days. he will no doubt be asked in Friday’s press conference  about West Ham’s interest and we’ll have to wait to hear what he has to say.

We would be very surprised if he was interested in joining the east London club and leaving his project at Newcastle United.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

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