West Ham issued a statement yesterday about their search for a new manager, and they had previously said they were confident they can appoint a new manager within a week.
They also said “We are preparing to appoint a manager who has a proven record of success at the highest level of the game.”
On the surface of it, that seems like Rafa Benitez they are talking about.
But their number on target is former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, and they have already held discussions with Pellegrini.
That’s not the case with Rafa Benitez – yet.
The statement from the Chairmen read as follows:
“I would like to reassure our supporters that we have left no stone unturned in selecting the individual we believe is the right man to take West Ham United forward.”
“We have followed a process that is progressing entirely to plan and are now very close to reaching an agreement.”
“This is an exciting time for our football club. We are preparing to appoint a manager who has a proven record of success at the highest level of the game.”
That’s the good news on Rafa.
The bad news is that the Mail are reporting today that Rafa could potentially leave Newcastle without paying that £6M severance penalty.
That’s a bit of a road-black for West Ham United right now in their pursuit of the Spaniard.
Rafa’s lawyers “believe he has a case for constructive dismissal.”
That presumably is based on Ashley not keeping to the agreements he made with Benitez when he first signed the contract back in May 2016.
It’s not a good sign that his legal team have actually looked at his Newcastle contract in detail and come to that conclusion.
It would be amazing if Rafa leaves Newcastle for West Ham this summer.
And Ashley will be much more than just a pantomime villain to Newcastle fans.
But the owner doesn’t seem to be doing much to help as he continues to drag his feet on Rafa’s demands.
He hasn’t even spoken to Rafa as far as we know.