Former Newcastle United captain Mick Martin has shared with the Chronicle his doubts in reports that have suggested Rafa Benitez is contemplating accepting an offer to manage in the Chinese Super League.
Allegedly, the boss’ frustrations with owner Mike Ashley and Managing Director Lee Charnley refusing to offer the assurances he is after when it comes to signing players over 26-years-old has led the Spaniard to consider leaving the Magpies.
If he does leave when his contract expires at the end of the month, Dalian Yifang have reportedly offered the former Real Madrid boss the chance to become China’s best-paid manager at a staggering £12million-a-year – £7m more than he earns at St James’ Park.
Martin, though, is not sure the move to the Far East would make sense for Benitez given his family are settled in the UK, and is confident the boss is desperate to see Ashley listen to his pleas for extra funds and greater freedom in the transfer market.
“He is settled in the UK with his family,” he said. “And it can’t just be about money for him at 59, as he has managed for many years and is not concerned about finances.
“I also think it would be a massive gamble for Mike Ashley to start the season without Benitez – especially for an extra £10million or £15million.
“I hope the pair can resolve things soon. Even if Mike did sell the club, Benitez would be in place for the new owner, and they would have a world-class boss.
“Mike surely won’t want any hassle. It just does not seem worth it.
“What Benitez is asking for is fair. He wants an extra few quid to try to take the club on to the next level. He’s sick of fighting and scrapping against relegation. They finished 13th last season, and he now wants to be more competitive.
“That’s what the fans want, and that’s what the club should want. That’s what the powers that be should produce to keep the fans coming back. It always has been.”