Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Taking over United Job Is Full of Ifs and Buts for Top Boss Benitez; Rafa's Representatives Have Held Talks with Newcastle, but an Appointment May Have Strings Attached Former Valencia and Real Madrid Boss Rafa Benitez Is Interested in a Long-Term Project at Newcastle - but Only If He Pulls off a Great Escape at St James'Park, Writes LEE RYDER

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Taking over United Job Is Full of Ifs and Buts for Top Boss Benitez; Rafa's Representatives Have Held Talks with Newcastle, but an Appointment May Have Strings Attached Former Valencia and Real Madrid Boss Rafa Benitez Is Interested in a Long-Term Project at Newcastle - but Only If He Pulls off a Great Escape at St James'Park, Writes LEE RYDER

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE United will need to move fast if they want to appoint Rafa Benitez as their new manager.

The ex-Liverpool and Real Madrid boss is thought to be prepared to take the Newcastle job on a 10-game basis.

His representatives have held talks with the Magpies over the possibility of taking over the relegation-threatened club.

However, the situation is ongoing as Benitez seeks clarification on the terms and conditions of the job.

With Newcastle staring relegation in the face, the margins for error are already razor thin and with the Spaniard having reservations over the position to begin with, United can't waste more time if they want to make a highprofile appointment.

Benitez, like most managers in contention for a Premier League job, does not want a black mark on his CV. He is used to winning trophies and qualifying for the Champions League.

But anybody coming in at this stage would want at least a fighting chance of keeping Newcastle in the top flight.

Eight games were not enough for Alan Shearer back in 2009 when the Magpies were relegated to the Championship. Newcastle have just 10 games left to save themselves and one scary statistic is they had five points more when Shearer was appointed than they do now.

Benitez, though, is eager to return to football management and a decision to move back to his home on the Wirral after being sacked by Real Madrid, underlines the fact he is keen on another crack at the Premier League.

The Spaniard was one of the names discussed by United's football board on Monday when they held an out-of-city crisis meeting in the aftermath of Saturday's 3-1 home defeat by AFC Bournemouth.

Benitez spent six years at Liverpool and won the Champions League and FA Cup, but his experiences in England more recently resulted in him guiding Chelsea to third spot in the Premier League and the Europa League trophy back in 2013.

Newcastle are yet to hold face-to-face talks with Benitez, but sources close to the Spaniard's representatives have suggested he might be prepared to take the job for the remainder of the season.

He can see the precarious position the Magpies are in and any new head coach would require a 50% win ratio in to guarantee Premier League football next season. …

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