The Chronicle are reporting today that Rafa Benitez has told Newcastle United that he will not leave the club in mid-season, and that’s regardless of whether Newcastle sign any players during the coming week.
We’re not sure whether that’s good news or bad news.
Rafa has never broken any contract in his management career and will not do this at Newcastle.
He has been fired a couple of times by two massive clubs – Inter-Milan and Real Madrid.
But whether the manager is willing to stay on Tyneside after his contract runs out in June is the big unanswered question.
Rafa was quick to play down the reports, in his press conference on Friday, that he was at the end of his tether with Mike Ashley and would not renew his contract if Ashley didn’t back him in this transfer window.
Rafa pointed out he never said that and also said that if the club started doing things right in the transfer windows, he would be happy to talk with Mike Ashley about staying on board.
What he means by that are doing things a lot more quickly and being willing to pay the going rate for good players and also allowing Rafa to bring in some experienced players when he sees fit.
Raf also wants to revamp the Youth Academy so the club can create some of their own star players and that will save money too.
But it will be very difficult for Rafa to stay on board with Mike Ashley remaining as the frugal owner of the club.
Rafa will likely reopen negotiations next month on a new contract, but there will be other Premier League clubs after him now – including former Premier League Champions Leicester City.
It’s almost certain the club will replace current manager Claude Puel in the summer.
Rafa will want to stay in England, and if would be a surprise if he left to manage again on the continent or in China since he wants to be close to his family in the Wirral, Cheshire.
Newcastle is perfect for him if he had an owner who was as enthusiastic and ambitious as he is about the club.