Guillem Balague knows a lot about Rafa Benitez – he understands his character, and he knows his history at each of the clubs he’s managed.
The Sky Sports Spanish reporter has also written a book on Rafa’s time at Liverpool – A Season On The Brink.
So his opinions are to be taken seriously, and he has written a BBC column on Thursday; in the article, he has addressed Rafa’s situation at Newcastle.
It doesn’t paint a very positive picture with Rafa having been let down too many times by owner Mike Ashley over the last two years.
Sky Sports Spanish reporter Guillem Balague
This is what Guillem has said in his BBC article about Rafa’s current situation and what has to happen for him to stay at Newcastle.
“Despite having recorded Newcastle’s worst 10-game start to a season since the 19th century, back-to-back wins means they are up to 14th in the table.”
“Tottenham are the only side from the top six to have beaten Benitez’s Newcastle by more than two goals (August 2017).”
“And in his past eight Premier League games against the top six he has either won (twice) or lost by a single goal.”
“All of which means one thing: Newcastle are close but clearly not close enough.”
“Benitez’s contract comes to an end next summer. As it stands he has a renewal offer on the table.”
“But to be signed the club have to show enough commitment with a project that should be around improving facilities and results, not just survival.”
“Should Salomon Rondon continue to score for his new club then he may will dig them out of a hole and guarantee survival; and once again Ashley will believe his approach has been vindicated.”
“But it will probably take considerably more than that to ensure Benitez will be committing his future to the city that has adopted him as one of their own.”
“And that is a real shame.”
It wouldn’t surprise us if Guillem talked to Rafa before he wrote the BBC article last week.
But Rafa’s demands have not changed – it’s just that it seems Mike Ashley is again gambling with Newcastle United’s future.
In this case, the question is whether he will do enough to keep Rafa on Tyneside.
Or more accurately whether he wants to do enough to keep Rafa on Tyneside.
What do you think?