Who could replace Benitez at the end of the season?

Posted on September 4th, 2018 | No Comments |

Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley
A very rare shot of Benitez and Ashley together.
As most fans will know, Rafa Benitez’s contract as Newcastle United’s manager will expire at the end of the season and so far, the omens do not look particularly good.

After a nightmare start to the season against pretty much the worst possible opposition (Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City in their first four games), the club are currently in the bottom three, and overall transfer spending is in minus figures, leaving Benitez with what is effectively a lower mid table squad. Indeed, according to transfer website Transfermarkt, there are only four teams in the Premier League with lower value squads than Newcastle (£157.23m), these are Bournemouth (£147.83m), Watford (£144.63), Huddersfield (£104.49m) and Cardiff (£84.83m), which almost makes them relegation battlers. Of course, Benitez showed his mettle last season by taking a squad which should have been hovering precariously above the bottom three to a highly creditable 10th in the Premier League.

One thing that is fairly sure is that if things go on in this way and Ashley doesn’t recant, have a January transfer window epiphany and break open the rusty Toon treasure chest, then Benitez will hardly be over keen to extend his contract with the club. Though most fans understand that Benitez is working with minimal resources, if he stays, his reputation as a manager in the wider football world will only decline unless he performs miracles every season, and Benitez will know that.

It is no good having fantasies about flying saviours from the Middle East, there have been too many potential buyers already in the 11 years since Ashley too over the club who have walked away after trying to deal with him. If Ashley stays and Benitez does leave, it is beyond doubtful that Ashley would be able to replace him with a manager of similar stature, and if the worst happens, in our despair we can only hope that he finds another Hughton, rather than another McClaren, Carver or Kinnear.

Writing as someone who has been an admirer of Benitez since I used to go to Spain to watch his giant killing Valencia side at the beginning of this Century, one thing about Benitez which might provide comfort is that although he as quintessentially Spanish as a plate of Tapas and a nice Rioja, he has always been something of a sentimental football Anglophile who has had a genuine affection and respect for historic English clubs like Liverpool and Newcastle United which goes well beyond mere Manager’s diplomacy in front of a microphone.

Once again on the positive side, as I pointed out above, Newcastle have had a start from Hell, making their current position in the bottom three look worse than it really is. We can only hope that Benitez will feel more sanguine once the Toon get a few victories under their belts against lesser sides. Looking forward however, there won’t be much of a let up with the Magpies facing Arsenal in their next game and if you are looking for good odds, try Novibet sports betting. Of course, Arsenal will be the favourites, but unlike the big sides we have faced so far, Arsenal have displayed some fragility as they get aquainted with new manager, Unai Emery, with Benitez suggesting that the team may employ a more attacking approach against the Gunners than they did against the big sides they have faced already. Here’s hoping for a victory that will really lift the side and get the season started.

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1093 articles on this blog.

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