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Why Newcastle Should Do Everything Possible To Keep Benitez Away From West Ham

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Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez
Rafael Benitez

Why Newcastle Should Do Everything Possible To Keep Rafael Benitez At The Club

On August 28, 2017, Newcastle United and West Ham United crossed swords at St James Park. Newcastle then claimed a 3-0 (could have been bigger) win for Newcastle, leaving West Ham without a point and at bottom of the table after conceding 10 goals in their first 3 matches.

The win for Newcastle saw them bounce back from two back-to-back defeats, while a third consecutive defeat for Slaven Bilic meant West Ham were in crisis.

Bilic was appointed as West Ham manager in 2015 and a 7th place finish (with 62 points) in his first season, only 4 points adrift of Champions League spot, saw his popularity rise in London. However, a difficult second season saw the Hammers struggle and end up at 11th spot with 45 points.

Since the New Year, Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has been linked a number of times with the West Ham job. Benitez was allegedly close to taking the West Ham job before Real Madrid came in for him in 2015, with the East London club going for Slaven Bilic instead.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Speaking in December 2015, Hammers joint-chairman David Sullivan said:

“We were two hours from getting Benitez and then Real came in. We had agreed a contract and everything. He is a top manager, whatever anybody says, and I think he’d have done a wonderful job for us.”

So with Bilic underperforming, reports linking Benitez for the West Ham job comes as no surprise. West Ham owners continue to be ‘big admirers’ of Benitez and amidst Spaniard’s public unhappiness with Mike Ashley.

The “cold war” between Benitez and Ashley intensified when the latter declared ‘lack of funds’ to spend in the transfer market with an eye to sell the club. The involvement of Justin Barnes, a lawyer by profession and Ashley’s close friend in business, has further complicated matters between the two. It is believed that Barnes has a final say in the transfer activity of the club.

With the Newcastle board not backing Benitez financially, to compete in the Premier League, he could only spend around £35m on six new signings. The record transfer this summer of less than £11m was spent on Jacob Murphy; a winger from Norwich City. Clearly, Benitez was not satisfied with the quality of the signings, yet reaffirmed his commitment to Newcastle.

Rafael Benitez

With various reasons, loyalty being the top most, Benitez won’t walk away from Newcastle. For him being a lover of the game and the fans of the club, he won’t dare to let down the supporters or his players at Tyneside.

“I will try to do my job. My aim is trying to improve things, so when I leave, whenever it is, the team and the club will be better,” Benitez said in one of his pressers.

The January window may see a face-off between Benitez and Ashley. Ashley should keep his egotistical nature aside and fulfil Benitez’s demands, given the club’s league position. But with Bilic already on the edge of knife, it won’t be difficult for West Ham to prize away Benitez from Newcastle, given the relationship between him and Mike Ashley.