Despite it being the off-season there is plenty for Newcastle United fans to mull over – not least the future of their manager.
There is less than a fortnight until Rafael Benitez’s contract at St James’ Park comes to an end and there is understandably plenty of trepidation over what might happen if the Spaniard does end up leaving the club after three years in charge.
To add to the uncertainty, Newcastle also find themselves in the midst of a potential takeover, leaving it as two senior figures – in Benitez and owner Mike Ashley – who might not be at the club when the season kicks off in August.
With the Spaniard’s future up in the air, there is of course plenty of speculation who might take over and the Mirror have reported that the Bin Zayed Group, the potential investors looking to buy the Magpies, want to appoint either Jose Mourinho or Arsene Wenger to the helm, while the Daily Star have claimed the Portuguese boss will talk to Newcastle if the BZG deal gets done.
It would be quite the appointment for the club but one which many will feel is unrealistic considering the Magpies’ history – after all, Benitez was viewed as a massive coup when he arrived three years ago.
So is there any real chance of Mourinho taking charge? If his latest comments on his future are anything to go by, quite possibly.
Speaking to Eleven Sports, as quoted by Sky Sports, the former Manchester United man admitted international football tempted him and that a return to club football would only come about if the “project” was right.
“I only go where a project convinces me,” he told the media broadcaster.
“I want to be happy, not necessarily win, I want to be happy and I don’t want to accept a proposal without being convinced of it, that’s what I’ve always thought. That’s why if [a club] told me ‘today there are no conditions to win, but we want you to create the conditions to win’, then I would evaluate it.”
A club where there are no current expectations to win but where there could be a new chapter of success under his stewardship? A sleeping giant like Newcastle could well be what he is looking for, especially with new owners willing to give him cash to splash.
The Magpies have the potential to be a giant of English football, with a fervent fan base, an excellent stadium and Premier League pedigree among their squad – all they have been lacking is funds.
Newcastle fans might want Benitez to stay and if the new owners want Mourinho in then he will take some convincing. A project at St James’ Park, where he is tasked with awakening the sleeping giant in the north east, might be exactly what he is looking for.
The Portuguese boss cannot be ruled out – but there is plenty to happen behind-the-scenes before he is sitting in the dugout on Tyneside.