Newcastle are still hopeful of getting Rafa Benitez to agree to a new contract at St James’ Park, and once Premier League safety is assured, the process of negotiating an agreement between the two will start properly.
But according to a report in the Newcastle Chronicle, there has been a sudden bout of speculation that the Spaniard may be set to become the next Celtic manager.
Alex Apati, who works for Ladbrokes, says the sudden interest has them “scratching their heads” as to where it has come from.
Rafa has always said that his preference is to stay at St James’ Park, and Magpies fans will be hoping for that outcome too.
But it is up to Mike Ashley to thrash out a deal that is acceptable to both club and manager, and it will likely mean the owner having to agree to a host of demands the Spaniard has requested.
As is usual in these types of negotiation, Rafa will not expect to get everything he is hoping for, but it is a sensible approach to ask for more, and hope your counterpart will meet somewhere in the middle.
The result, of course, is that the manager will get most of what he realistically expected, but as they say — if you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win the lottery.
Even if the unthinkable were to happen, and no agreement is reached, it would be hard to envisage Benitez going to Celtic.
Yes they are a massive club, with a huge fan-base, but it would hardly be the type of challenge Rafa likes.
Celtic would probably offer him a huge salary, but if that was his motivation, he would have already signed the lucrative new deal Newcastle have already put on the table.
Rafa loves Newcastle, that has never been an issue. But he also has a long-term vision for the club. He knows where it should be. He knows how to get it there.
It is up to Ashley to see that too.
Do you think Rafa would go to Celtic if he cannot agree a new contract, Newcastle fans? Will Ashley convince him to stay? Let us know your thoughts…
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