It’s extremely unlikely that anyone involved at Newcastle United will particularly want to replace Rafa Benitez at the end of the season, though their hands may well be forced.
With a second relegation of the Mike Ashley era looming large over the North East giants, it’s likely that the Spaniard will activate the clause inserted in his deal when he arrived back in March that allows him to leave.
Being a Champions League winner – whose led the likes of Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Liverpool – it is hard to imagine Benitez pitting his wits in the Championship.
He’s bound to offers roll in over the course of the summer, with the Spanish national job the latest to be mooted as a possibility. All well and good for him then.
But where do the Toon turn to next? Attracting a boss anywhere near the calibre of their current one will be a desperately difficult task should they fail in their bid to beat the drop.
Will they revert to the norm deployed by the current regime and look for solely a head coach? Or tear up the blueprint that has served them so badly at last and look for a completely left field move?
Click this image to see FIVE contenders to takeover from Benitez should Newcastle go down.