At present, Rafael Benitez is still on course to leave Newcastle this summer. The Spaniard’s contract has just months left to run, and that means that we’re still looking at seeing a new boss in the dugout come the start of next season.
However, naturally, the club want to hang on to Rafa, and that’s why – as reported by the Chronicle – he’s been involved in the club’s pre-season preparations ahead of next term. The club are set to go to Asia during the off-season, and Benitez has been kept in the loop despite the fact that, at present, he’s not on course to remain with the club past that point.
This does hint at something that has changed behind the scenes at Newcastle. Of course, most significantly, it does indicate that the club are hopeful that Benitez will remain – but it goes further than that too.
Over the last few years, it’s been easy to accuse Newcastle of a lack of planning. The Magpies have failed to keep an eye on the future, with last minute transfer panics or a lack of investment really holding the team back.
It’s not a huge surprise that the club haven’t been able to improve drastically in recent years. Growth comes from within, and teams are able to build only after they make long-term plans. Look at Liverpool, for example. They improved the team over a matter of years, put a plan in place, and now they’re vying for the title.
The arrival of Miguel Almiron in January, combined with the club planning for life beyond the end of the season with Benitez, does suggest that the tide is turning at Newcastle. It must not stop there, however, with further attention and planning required.