'No contact' for Rafa Benitez as bookies back Spaniard to replace Steve Bruce as Newcastle United manager
Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has NOT been contacted by the Magpies’ prospective new owners ahead of their £300million takeover.
Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has revealed his countryman, manager of United from 2016 to 2019, is yet to hear from the PIF, Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners consortium, who are awaiting the green light from the Premier League to complete the deal at St James’s Park.
Benitez has been tipped to replace Steve Bruce, with bookmakers installing him as favourite for the job once Mike Ashley sells the club.
Speaking on his Youtube channel, Balague said: “The rumours that have reached agents is that there will be money available and straight away as well. So they will be at the forefront of interesting signings.
“Who’s gonna go to Newcastle right now? I think the first decision will be to get a manager that can lead all that.
“By the way, I heard that Rafa Benitez hasn’t heard anything from the new owners or anything, so he’s miles away from what is happening. That’s the situation right now.”
Benitez is thought to have a huge buyout clause written in to his contract at Chinese Super League outfit Dalian Yifang.
That figure is thought to total more than £20million and should someone trigger it, it would be the highest fee ever paid to land a manager.
Benitez has two years left on his Dalian deal, which he signed after walking away from Newcastle last summer after falling out with Ashley.
Benitez is said to be on a four-man Magpies shortlist to replace Bruce at the helm following the completion of the 2019/20 Premier League and FA Cup campaigns.
The list is said to contain former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino, who remains on gardening leave from his post at the London Stadium, as well as Borussia Dortmund’s Lucien Favre and ex-Juventus and AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri.
Bookmakers have Benitez as the odds-on favourite to replace Bruce.
Selected odds via Skybet: Rafa Benitez, Evens; Mauricio Pochettino, 5/2; Roberto Mancini, 5/1; Massimiliano Allegri, 6/1; Eddie Howe, 12/1; Luis Enrique, 12/1; Steven Gerrard, 16/1; Marcelo Bielsa, 20/1; Roberto Martinez, 20/1; Julian Nagelsmann, 25/1.