According to a recent report from The Daily Mirror, Rafa Benitez is one name on the shortlist to replace Steve Bruce in charge of Aston Villa. The 58-year-old is currently in charge of Premier League outfit Newcastle United and has been since 2016, although during that time he has found it tricky to take the Magpies forward given the lack of investment from owner Mike Ashley.
And reports suggest that the Villa owners are keen on luring the Spaniard to Villa Park to replace the recently-sacked Bruce, and while there is little doubting that it would be an ambitious move and one unlikely to happen, Benitez’s frustrations at Newcastle suggest that it’s not completely out of the question.
Ultimately, Benitez deserves huge credit for the job he has done at St James’ Park since taking over in March 2016, sticking with the club to help them win promotion from the Championship in the 2016/17 season, before leading them to a tenth place finish in the top-flight last term.
And he has done all that with his hands tied given the distinct lack of investment from owner Ashley, what with the Magpies again making a profit on transfers during the summer given Benitez was only given seven new signings, two of which were loans and one a free transfer.
And with the North East giants seriously struggling in failing to win any of their opening seven matches, one wonders just how frustrated Benitez is getting with trying to carry out a seemingly impossible job, a job he looks likely to leave in the summer, if not before.
And those frustrations mean that Villa could well stand a chance of convincing him to move to the Midlands, what with Benitez having once dropped down to the Championship before to help a huge club return to the Premier League.
The Spaniard couldn’t keep Newcastle in the top-flight in 2016 but then stuck with them to lead them to the Championship title the season after – he could well do the same were he to move to Villa.
Significantly though, he may see a greater long-term opportunity at Villa Park, as although the finances have been something of a problem for the club in recent times, they seem to be over the worst of them – thus, he may actually be allowed to spend and take the club forward were he to return them to the Premier League.
Like Newcastle, Villa will appeal to several players around the country and not least if a high-quality manager like Benitez is at the helm – the difference is that he may well get the chance to spend the money he needs to bring in the players he wants to take Villa up the Premier League.
And with a reasonably strong squad already at Villa Park, the 58-year-old may well see a promotion-winning side in that Villa team at present, and with the possibility of a greater long-term opportunity at the Midlands heavyweights, an ambitious move for the Spaniard to replace Bruce could very much take place.
Villa fans… what do you think? Let us know!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!