It has been no secret that Rafa Benitez’s future is uncertain at Newcastle United in recent months as doubts over the club’s ownership continue, but the Daily Star Sunday now claim that there is perhaps the biggest threat to him continuing at St. James’ Park.
The newspaper reports that the Spanish coach tops Leicester City’s list of targets to replace current head coach Claude Puel, whose position looks more untenable than ever after being thrashed 5-0 by struggling Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Benitez’s magnificent achievements with the Magpies show just why he is in such high demand. Newcastle eased to promotion from the Championship at the first time of asking last season and have outperformed expectations substantially, currently sitting in the top half of the Premier League table.
Owners at clubs like the Foxes will consider the lack of real quality in that squad and imagine what he could achieve with substantial funds and the quality of their playing staff behind him.
That won’t just be the case at the King Power Stadium though, with the likes of West Ham also likely to be having similar thoughts given the similarities between them. Even the likes of Everton would likely consider such an option if it were not for his Liverpool past.
In truth though, Leicester seems the perfect fit. A side based on defensive strength during their historic league winning season, club bosses have shown a desire to restore that with Puel’s appointment but it has not worked with Everton the only other top half side to have conceded more than the 52 goals they have.
That is Benitez’s specialty, and he has also shown that he can be ruthless in gutting a squad and rebuilding, something the Foxes are keen to do this summer.
Leicester must act quickly and hope that the coach’s loyalty will not keep him on Tyneside, but it would seem that Benitez would be the perfect appointment.