In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
When it was reported that Newcastle United appointed Chelsea and Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez as successor to Steve McClaren in the North East back in March 2016, it definitely shook the Tyneside club.
The 60-year old was arguably an already established European mastermind upon arrival at St. James’ Park, having won the UEFA Cup with Valencia CF in 2003/04, the Champions League with Liverpool in 2004/05, the UEFA Super Cup with the Anfield outfit the season after in addition to claiming the Europa League title with Chelsea in 2012/13, according to Transfermarkt.
This is not to mention the various domestic trophies that Rafa won whilst also managing in Italy with SSC Napoli and Inter Milan, as per the website, and the fact that the club he had managed before arriving at St James’ Park was Spanish giants Real Madrid.
With so much silverware to his name, it was perhaps a shock that the Spanish coach chose to manage the Magpies given that they had not won any since their 2010 EFL Championship success.
Nevertheless, Rafa relished the new challenge of coaching a team threatened by relegation, claiming that he was ‘committed to a legendary English club’, winning the Toon faithful over straight away.
Newcastle finished in the top half of the Premier League table in their first campaign after promotion, a testament to how well Rafa did with what he was working with. Indeed, that season they had a net spend of just £22.75m (Transfermarkt).
He has since left the club, finishing with 62 wins from 146 matches and 209 goals scored. But The Daily Telegraph have reported that he wants to make his second coming if the prospective takeover is completed.
Should Rafa be Newcastle boss after the takeover?
Indeed, with potentially much more financial backing from the Saudi consortium, Rafa could repeat his heroics for United and perhaps guide them further.
Geordies, did Rafa shake the club when he joined? Comment below!
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