Former Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez admits his preference is to return to Premier League management, but says he wants to be part of a ‘serious project’.
Benitez said goodbye to Newcastle on the expiry of his contract in 2019 and went on to take over at Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang.
The Champions League-winning manager left that post in January and is now considering his next move.
Plenty of Newcastle supporters want Benitez back
Speaking to Marca, 60-year-old Benitez outlined his requirements.
“I want to find a club with ambition, one either competing for titles or looking for a serious project that will lead to that later,” he said.
Will Benitez ever return to Newcastle?
“My experiences with Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle have all been very enjoyable and for that reason my priority is the Premier League.
“My family are in England and it’s the most important league, but I can’t rule out leaving. As I said, if there’s a well-defined project with objectives.”
The Spaniard was linked with a return earlier in 2021, having been a hugely popular figure during his previous spell on Tyneside. In a Chronicle Live survey last month, Newcastle fans voted Benitez as the second-best alternative to Steve Bruce – those fans would be delighted if he were to return under better ownership.
Eddie Howe was the number one choice, but the former Bournemouth boss is now seemingly poised to join Celtic.
Transfer Tavern verdict
Benitez’s demand for ‘ambition’ shouldn’t be seen as tantamount to ruling out a St James’ Park comeback, especially after the the six words that ‘my priority is the Premier League’.
If there’s a change in ownership and Benitez is promised satisfactory backing, he’d probably be confident of lifting the Toon from lower mid-table to Europa League contention.
A change of ownership and a return for Benitez would probably be a dream scenario for Newcastle supporters. However, if Steve Bruce keeps them in the league this year, you’d expect Mike Ashley to stand by him.
And Newcastle may therefore miss the boat on Benitez, who could be near the top of the shortlist for clubs who find themselves with a managerial vacancy in the near future.
In other news, Mark Douglas named three players Newcastle are interested in.
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