According to Duncan Castles of the Transfer Window Podcast, the future of Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce is in doubt following a run of two wins and two draws in his side’s last 13 Premier League games, and owner Mike Ashley has asked Rafa Benitez to step in and help keep the Magpies up.
The St. James’ Park outfit are currently a place and six points above relegation, and fans are scared that they could drop into the bottom three soon with 14 games still left to go.
Bruce is not popular with the Newcastle faithful, and with Ashley keen on selling the club the owner knows that relegation will wipe around 50% off the club’s current value.
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While he has recently backed the Magpies boss, it appears that he is ready to make a move with the club’s fortunes on the pitch dwindling, and he has reportedly gotten in touch with Benitez.
“It’s our information, probably it’d be surprising, that Mike Ashley, the current owner, has been in touch with former head coach Rafa Benitez, who has in the interim time had a sojourn managing in the Chinese Super League but is now back in situ in England,” transfer expert Ian McGarry said on the Transfer Window Podcast.
“He asked Benitez if he would be willing to return to St James’ Park to take over and effectively guide them to safety with regards to ensuring their Premier League status.”
Benitez joined Newcastle in March 2016 in an attempt to keep the team up, but it was too little, too late and they eventually got relegated.
However, the Champions League-winning boss remained with them in the Championship, helping them secure an immediate return back to the top-flight and keeping them up for the following two seasons before leaving upon the expiration of his contract in June 2019.
The Spaniard told The Athletic last December that he was left with no choice but to leave Newcastle as a result of disagreements with Ashley.
Benitez described him as “a businessman who I don’t believe really cares about his team”, and whether the former Real Madrid boss will be keen to return with the owner still in charge remains to be seen.