With Newcastle and Rafa Benitez allowing contract negotiations to drag on and on, it is obvious that rumours and speculation will continue to mount over the Spaniard’s future plans.
The latest of those come from one of Newcastle’s official media partners, the Daily Mirror, who suggest that Chinese Super League side, Guangzhou Evergrande, are lining up Benitez to replace Fabio Cannavaro, should he take over to manage the Chinese national team.
With no quotes from sources to back up the claims, it remains to be seen how solid this information is, but it is another sign — were one needed — that for everyone’s sake, and to minimise distractions, the situation needs to be resolved sooner rather than later.
This latest story is just one of many that have been circulating, with Rafa being told he is going to Celtic earlier this week, Leicester basically all season before Brendan Rodgers took over, West Ham all summer before that, and probably Gateshead next week.
It is hard to see Benitez going to China, especially as he has always said he wants to be close to his Merseyside home and family, but the links will continue until the deal gets done.
While I know the contract has got to be right, and it has to be agreeable to both parties, it has, frankly, gone on too long.
Fans can understand Rafa’s thoughts that Premier League safety is the priority, and talks can commence in earnest after that has been achieved, but at some point, the lack of information around the manager affects those performances.
It is a bit of a domino effect, and we think Rafa, for once, might be wrong in his thinking.
Sort it out now, get it completed, and if, or when, he signs, the relief will be noticeable among both players and fans.
It will almost certainly have a positive knock-on effect on the players, and results are likely to pick up as a result.
So for once, Rafa Benitez has got it wrong — and it is not often anyone can say that!
The signs that an agreement can be reached, are there, particularly with the announcement about revamping the youth set-up — one of Rafa’s key demands, and leaks that big-name signings can be made.
The Mirror report also claims Rafa is quite open to adhering to Mike Ashley’s under-25 transfer policy — as long as he can have a little leeway to mix it up with experienced players, that any squad needs.
So it is up to both sides of the negotiating table to thrash out a deal, and get it done as soon as possible.
What are your thoughts on Rafa’s contract situation? Will he leave this summer? Let us know your thoughts…
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