According to Telegraph, Dalian Professional manager Rafa Benitez wants to return to Newcastle United this summer after the completion of their £300 million takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
A huge obstacle to a potential return would be the combined costs of his Dalian pay-off and salary, but the new owners might be willing to bankroll it.
The Spaniard, 60, spent three seasons at St. James’ Park before leaving last summer upon the expiration of his contract.
Magpies chairman Mike Ashley and Benitez weren’t able to agree to terms of a new deal after falling out, but the former boss knows the would-be owners are more than ready to invest, and Manchester City centre-back John Stones and Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley are two of the players high on his wishlist should he succeed Steve Bruce in the dugout.
The former Newcastle boss wanted the English midfielder while he was at Liverpool in 2008 and was also keen on a move during his time at SJP.
Stones was on Benitez’s radar during his time as Real Madrid manager and he is now hoping to finally get his hands on the English duo if he returns as Toons boss.
PCP Capital Partners owner Amanda Staveley has fronted the takeover bid thus far and is set to own 10% of the club afterwards.
She is a huge fan of Benitez and is open to him returning to Newcastle, and that could give the Spanish manager an advantage in the race.
He is also loved by the fans, and while many of them will love to have him back, they aren’t particularly excited with the claims that he wants Barkley and Stones.
Here is how some of them have reacted to the report on Twitter:
Yes, please! If anyone could turn John Stones into a world-class defender, it's Rafa. Rafa gets the fans and has a plan for us. People saying we shouldn't go back to him make no sense, not giving it a chance in case it doesn't work out is a ridiculous excuse.
— Angel🎅🎁🎄 (@AngelNUFC) May 24, 2020
He understands us, he gets what the club means to us, he has already looked at what we need (The plans for youth development and training facilities) which were rejected by Ashley. Come back Rafa and finish what you started.
— Ian Reay (@ianreay6) May 24, 2020
It's Rafa all day long for me. He will win a cup fir us in the first 2 years. He is a born winner
— Wilfred (@WilfredAchom) May 24, 2020
Rafa is the one – still has a project to complete. Should be given to a chance to do it at least!
— Tony Crosbie (@rabser) May 25, 2020
Yes to Rafa but a resounding no to Stones and Barkley
— Phil Giles (@p2_Official) May 24, 2020
Yeah pretty much mate..
— FourFourFucnTwo (@FOURFOURFUCNTWO) May 25, 2020
Don't give me false hope 🙁
— لويس🇸🇦🇸🇦🇸🇦 (@Louis01J) May 24, 2020
Everything but the john stones bit 👌
— Liam Fenny (@Fenstar99) May 24, 2020
This would be the best thing to ever happen 🤞🏻🤞🏻
— 🇬🇧 𝗹𝗲𝗲 🏴 🇸🇦 (@nufc_fierce) May 24, 2020
Look. It just makes sense. #facts
— Dabizas' next door neighbour (@DabizasN) May 24, 2020