Reports have surfaced stating Real Sociedad’s upcoming interest in Newcastle United’s head coach, Rafael Benitez. The Spaniard has brought the Magpies back to the top-flight status and has worked incredibly well with the financial restraints he has faced from the ownership.
He was successful in bolstering the team’s attack by signing Kenedy and Islam Slimani on loan from Chelsea and Leicester City. The latter might not have featured much since his arrival but the Brazilian has been a huge hit with the Tyneside club.
Benitez hit the nail right on its head with his goalkeeper selection as well. Martin Dubravka has been solid at the back and has answered the inconsistencies of Karl Darlow.
Benitez was quoted, “It’s not always a question of money. That doesn’t always make the difference when it comes to signing the players you need. In January, when we were talking, we said we need a goalkeeper, a winger and a striker. That is what we did, and you can see the difference. It is about doing the right things at the right time.”
Now, the club is stacked at the 12th spot of the points table, 7 points clear of the bottom three despite having one of the toughest last stage fixtures in the league campaign. Benitez managed to overcome Manchester United earlier in February with a 1-0 win at St James’ Park. He even managed to hold the daunting Liverpool to just 2 goals on 3rd March and is currently coming off a 1-0 win over relegation rivals, Huddersfield Town.
The relegation worry might not completely be on the backboard but the team is still favourable odds for survival, especially with the ongoing crisis at Southampton, Stoke City and West Brom.
This is a major win in Benitez’s career. Once a Champions League winner and one of the most highly rated managers in Europe, the 57-year-old has shown great tenacity and adaptability working with a relatively weaker talent pool. If anybody, only he can lead the Magpies back to Premier League glory instead of the club festering in the lower half of the table, fighting for survival every season.
Benitez’s has worked in the La Liga previously with Real Madrid, Osasuna, Valencia and Real Valladolid. He was assigned to the Los Blancos on a three-year contract but was later fired due to his failed relationship with the players and the ability to deliver any major honours.
Whether he will stay beyond this season cannot be said for certain but the fans at St James’ Park should be pleased with his work till now.