The Mirror is reporting today that Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez is wanted by Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian next summer.
Other top clubs are also said to be monitoring his situation at Newcastle.
We’re not at all surprised that top clubs in China have been interested in Rafa’s situation at Newcastle and that he will likely become available when his current Newcastle contract runs out next June.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is unwilling to back Rafa’s ambitions for Newcastle by providing him with (any) funds in the transfer windows.
Rafa Benitez – wants to stay in England
And in the time Rafa has been at Newcastle we have made a net profit of £40M in five transfer windows including about £20M this summer.
Benitez has said many times he would be willing to stay at St James’ Park for up to 10 years, but changes would have to be made in the way the club does business.
That’s especially true in the transfer market where Rafa wants full control of who comes in and who goes out and he wants to spend the money as he sees fit.
It seems that Mike Ashley is unwilling to give Rafa the control he wants if he is to sign a new deal on Tyneside.
A source close to the Chinese game said this to the Mirror:
“Tianjin Quanjian could be interested in Rafa at the end of the season when he would be free as things stand.”
“Clubs in China are still monitoring his situation, especially with him not signing a contract.”
“A manager here can lose two games and be out, so any of the top clubs could be interested.’’
The Chinese clubs throw money at top managers and players to get them to move to China, and the report says Benitez could earn as much as £30M a year in China.
But from what we can tell Rafa is not motivated too much by the money but by achieving things – by winning trophies
Rafa’s also a family man, and one big reason he signed for Newcastle over two years ago was that he was only a little over 180 miles from the family home in the Wirral, Cheshire.
There’s excellent train service between Newcastle and Liverpool, and he can also drive the distance in less than three hours.
So Rafa can get back to visit his wife Montse and their two teenage daughters quite frequently.
He could not do that when he managed Inter-Milan, Napoli and Real Madrid.
He will not be going to China, and the likelihood is if he leaves Newcastle next summer it will be to another Premier League club.
That club will have much more ambition, and energy than Mike Ashley has for Newcastle.
And they will provide him with ample transfer funds to build a top team – which is what he wanted to do at Newcastle.
If he does leave Newcastle next summer, it will be a tragedy for the club and the City – not to mention our fans.