According to the latest reports from the Chronicle, Rafael Benitez has emerged as a favourite to replace Neil Lennon at Celtic after the end of the season. However, the Spanish manager will give Newcastle United and Mike Ashley every chance to keep him. Benitez’s contract with the Magpies has expired, and he is yet to commit his future with the English club.
Celtic’s name have been linked with him for quite some time now, and now that Newcastle’s season is over, the Hoops are said to be the favourites to land him. However, Newcastle United’s decision makers are keen to resolve the contract situation soon, and they would want to secure the Champions League winning manager’s signature.
Why are Newcastle still in the driving seat?
The next few days could be crucial for Celtic if they want to secure the services of Benitez as he indicated that his future might be decided soon. Benitez said, ”It’s very easy. I can see the potential of this massive club (Newcastle) and hopefully we can do things in a way that will be good for everyone to move forward, maybe together. At the moment, it just keeps talking and see what happens next week.”
From his words it’s clear that staying at St. James’ Park will be his priority and Celtic only seem to have an outside chance to land him. However, a break in talks between the United hierarchy and Benitez can bring the Hoops back into contention to land him.
Why Celtic need someone like Benitez?
The Bhoys spent big money to land Brendan Rodgers a few years back. The kind of football and success which they got under the Northern Irish manager made him worth that price. Meanwhile Celtic under Neil Lennon have looked lacklustre, and their recent loss against Rangers also showcased the same. We don’t see Lennon being able to take this group of players to the next level.
On the other hand, Benitez has had success at almost wherever he has gone. His Champions League triumph with Liverpool is well known, but he also managed to win two La Liga titles with Valencia. Given his experience of operating at the top level and with the kind of success the Spaniard has had, Celtic should try everything in their means to bring him to Parkhead.
His stint at Newcastle also showed that he could work wonders with limited financial backing. Benitez can get Celtic on an impressive run in the European competitions given his organisational abilities.
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