Eleven days. That is all that remains on Rafa Benitez’s contract as of Wednesday, June 19, and whether the fan favourite Spaniard remains at Newcastle beyond that is looking increasingly questionable.
Negotiations with Mike Ashley and Managing Director Lee Charnley have failed to offer the gaffer the assurances he has been longing for, and now Sky Sports understand Dalian Yifang are willing to make the former Liverpool and Real Madrid head coach the best-paid manager in the Chinese Super League.
Allegedly, the team owned by the Dalian Yifang Group are prepared to part ways with South Korean Hang-heui Choi after just 15 matches, as the 60-year-old has taken just 1.27 points per game on average since taking up the Blue Hawks’ hot seat in February.
Should they do so, they hope Benitez accepts their offer of an annual salary of £12million – £7million more than he currently earns at St James’ Park – and Sky believe the one-time Champions League winner is considering the proposal.
Ashley and Charnley still have time to step up their best offer and give Benitez the guarantees that he will have a greater freedom to sign players aged over 26, but the proposed takeover by Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan may see that offer never see the light of day.
Not that too many Newcastle fans are concerned by Dalian Yifang’s approach, though, as some fail to see Benitez moving to China…
He’s constantly said he want’s to stay close to his family. More chance of him taking the birmingham job than him going to china. Calm down folks, as you were
— John Ainsworth (@johnnyains) June 18, 2019
“Well we tried to keep him but the offer from China was just too much for him to turn down” Could work out perfectly for Mike
— colin oliver (@100Magpie) June 18, 2019
I can’t see him going to China, he doesn’t need the money.
— Schärmageddon (@JSirigu) June 18, 2019
He’s keeping the door open … who wouldn’t
— ToonTone100 (@Toontone100) June 18, 2019
Could be a ploy to force Ashley’s hand
— Liam Nufc Weaver (@NufcWeaver) June 18, 2019
He won’t go to china ???????? his family are settled here and its not even a short plane ride back uk to see them. Also Chinese teams can not get in the champions league
— gavin thompson (@gavinthompson1) June 18, 2019
He’s leaking rumours to stir it up.
— Dijon Davies (@lee_davies86) June 18, 2019
His managerial talents would go to waste in China. Might as well go Non League and manage Hartlepool. #NUFC
— Dave Saunders (@DaveSau19811995) June 18, 2019
Well that’s that then, no Rafa and no takeover????
— Ray Arkley (@ray70arkley) June 18, 2019