As part of a Sky Sports panel for Monday Night Football, Rafa Benitez has opened up about his time in China and the chances of a return to the Premier League.
The Sun have published the following comments made by the Spaniard when asked by Jamie Carragher about his immediate plans:
“I must be very clear, there is no chance I would come back. I am very happy.
“They trust me. They have a lot of staff working in a big project. It’s a massive company.
“They want to create a legacy. We are working with players from six-years-old to the first team.
“We want to leave a legacy. It’s a great experience. I am learning a lot.”
These comments are not surprising in light of the recent revelations that there is a £20m buyout clause in his contract with Dalian Yifang.
He may not have much of an option but to stay in China if that news is accurate. However, we don’t think Benitez would give up on a project after only a few months in charge. Despite the clause, Rafa was always likely to have at least one full year in China.
He took over midway through this past campaign in the Chinese Super League. He was able to get Dalian Yifang into 9th place but had a tough patch to close the season in which they only won 2 of their last 10 games.
However, now is the time for Benitez to shine, and we think he is relishing the challenge of getting Dalian Yifang prepared for his first full season at the helm. He’ll likely want to have them pushing for the title.
He has two years remaining on his contract, and per the report on the buyout clause, it diminishes with each passing season. So we’ll likely hear a lot of talk this time next year of Rafa’s return to the Premier League as well.
Whether he sees out the full length of his deal or not, Rafa sees England in his future. This was how he followed up on his initial comments:
“Obviously in the future, I would like to return to the Premier League.”
We expect to see him back in the Premier League in the not too distant future, and we’ll continue to keep track of Dalian Yifang until that time comes.