Sky Sports pundit Phil Babb has tipped Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez to be at the heart of a summer battle as rival clubs look to secure his services.
The Magpies boss has a contract at St James’ Park which is set to expire at the end of the season and as yet there has been no notable progress reported on getting him signed up to remain on Tyneside.
Heralding the job he has done with Newcastle, former Liverpool man Babb has suggested that there could well be a tug of war among other clubs to try and prise him away from Newcastle.
Speaking on Sky Sports News‘ Football Centre (15/04, 12:52) he said: “He’s been fantastic for the club. A lot of people are surprised that he’s still there but there are definitely going to be talks in this summer.
“He needs the financial support to be able to do the job. There’s no point in him scrimping and fighting, that’s not what he’s at the club for, he’s there to challenge, he’s trying to win domestic cups but he’s not getting the support.
“I’m not sure he’s got another season in him. There will be other teams who want his services as he’s done such a good job.”
Unfortunately for Newcastle fans Babb is probably right with his analysis of the situation at St James’ Park. The longer they wait to get Benitez signed up to a new deal, the more interest will build and there might well be managers who feel safe right now coming under pressure with the Spaniard lined up to replace them. It would be absolutely heartbreaking for the Toon Army to see Benitez being fought over by other clubs when they know he would love to stay on Tyneside and see out the project he has got underway with the Magpies. However, with Mike Ashley as owner that seems infeasible without a complete change of direction from the British businessman, with funds needed for both the transfer window and to improve the infrastructure of the club. Benitez is an ambitious coach and it is just a shame the owner does not share his beliefs for Newcastle United.