We had some conflicting reports yesterday about who would be the manager At Newcastle once the Amanda Staveley led consortium gets approval from the Premier league to buy Newcastle.
That’s assuming there are no (big) spanners thrown into the works with the consortium’s owners’ and directors’ test by the Premier League.
The deal is now reported to be complete by the end of this month – two weeks.
There was a report from Craig Hope in the Mail that Steve Bruce would be given a chance to continue to manage Newcastle – his boyhood club.
They quote sources close to the deal, saying it would be “wrong” to make an immediate change.
And then Sky Sports Keith Downey came out and said it would be difficult for Rafa Benitez to turn down Newcastle if he got an offer from Amanda Staveley to come back to Newcastle, and once again be close to his home in the Wirral.
And the new leaders at Newcastle will have Rafa Benitez’s ambitions for Newcastle United – very unlike Mike Ashley.
Keith didn’t actually say anything other than if an offer was made Rafa would hardly turn it down – it’s his dream job.
The consortium have put a lot of money into the acquisition of the club.
And by all accounts, they will have money to invest in the infrastructure.
That’s the training center, Youth Academy, St James’ Park: they will also invest in the City of Newcastle itself and, of course, in new players.
So if they are going to bring players in, you would think they would want the long term manager in place from the start.
It’s very costly and a little chaotic when you keep changing managers because they play different styles and like different kinds of players.
That’s why there was so much churn and wasted player investment when Freddy Shepherd was Chairman, and after Kevin Keegan had left – because he kept changing the managers.
Rafa turned 60 this week, and he is tied up on a deal in China with Chinese Super League club Dalian until the end of next year.
On 2 July 2019, Benítez took the job and signed a two-and-a-half-year deal.
The Chinese Super League have delayed the start of their new season because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s anybody’s guess when it can start.
Rafa’s release clause is reported to be £20M, so that’s really expensive, but that also sounds really unrealistic and could be negotiated down.
But we wonder if Rafa had a clause inserted into his contract that if a big offer came for him from a top club in Europe, he could be released – maybe even for a reduced amount.
If that was the case, it would make it easier for Rafa to leave China on good terms with his head held high.
Rafa has never broken a contract in his career.
But this is also what he had dreamed of at Newcastle: wealthy new owners with money to spend and ambitions to match his.
It is a massive opportunity for Rafa – if he is offered the job.
But he will not want to leave China if it puts a damper on his public image, or questions his ethics.
We think if it could be worked out between Amanda Staveley (who is a huge admirer of Rafa as a manager) and the Dalian officials, he would leave China and return to Tyneside.
And the two of them already know each other quite well, and when Amanda was trying to buy Newcastle in late 2017, one caveat was that Rafa was the manager.
It will be interesting to see what will happen. Still, we think there is only a small chance of Rafa returning to Newcastle this year, primarily because of the contract he has in China and the difficulties in breaking that.
Oh – I forget to mention the Newcastle fans just love this man, and got right behind him in the three and a half years he was at the club and to us – he was always the perfect manager for Newcastle United.
I personally love Rafa as a person, and as a manager – I think I’m allowed to say that without getting into too much trouble.
What do you think?