It’s not surprising that Rafa Benitez has ruled out returning to Napoli because he has said many times he wants to be in England and close to his family in the Wirral, Cheshire.
But since that’s one of the clubs said to be interested in hiring him that’s good news for Newcastle.
And as we all know his reps have been negotiating with Lee Charnley for the last three weeks.
Newcastle need to meet most of Rafa’s demands before he will sign a new and extended contract at the club.
If he cannot get any joy from Newcastle owner Mike Ashley – which is always a possibility – it seems that West Ham and former Premier League Champions Leicester City are willing to offer him what he wants to stay in England.
So are Everton FC but there’s no way Rafa would join the Toffees.
Rafa Benitez – while head coach at Napoli 2013-2015
Rafa has been speaking to CalcioNapoli24 and here’s some of what he said as reported in the Chronicle today:
“I’ve heard so much talk, but I haven’t spoken to Napoli Chairman Aurelio de Laurentiis”
“I have a contract with Newcastle, I’m talking to them about my renewal.”
“They made me some offers to stay here for a few more years, plus I have to manage my family.”
“If I decided to go to Newcastle and stay there, even in the Championship, it’s also because of my family.”
“My priority is to stay in England. I’m only talking to Newcastle right now.””
“Many of the Napoli players who have been together for five years have the advantage of understanding each other, without even looking at each other.”
“This gives them an advantage and, with the work of Sarri (Napoli head coach), the team did well, although they didn’t win any trophies, perhaps because Juventus are so strong.”
“They went close this season, but Juventus are very strong and in order to beat them, you have to be close to perfection.”
“After that, you must have that so-called winning mentality because when you’re under pressure, those with more experience can make the difference.”
Rafa has found his stride at Newcastle in the two years he’s been here and he has enhanced his reputation for the excellent work he has done on Tyneside.
Most owners would reward him for that and we are hoping that’s what Mike Ashley will do.
He needs to get him signed up this week and not let these negotiations drag on as they usually do at Newcastle with Mike Ashley as the owner.
That’s one of the things Rafa is trying to change – for Newcastle to be more nimble – especially with our negotiations in the transfer market.