Newcastle United have confirmed that Rafa Benitez will leave the club at the end of this month, and they have already begun the search for his successor.
Terms on a one-year rolling deal were close, but Benitez was insistent on having a £100million transfer budget written into the deal – something the club could not and would not sanction.
Benitez’s representatives had been in talks for months, whilst they were also looking at options for the Spaniard – with a possible move to China still an option, although he could very well wait given his impressive CV.
Now the search is on for the man to replace Benitez, and sources close to the club believe they are considering a number of options – as they have been looking for a number of months.
Whilst the hope was that Benitez would sign a new deal, the club’s hierarchy were making plans should he leave, and now those plans will step up a level.
It is also believed that a host of candidates have already made contact with Newcastle, and they are not short of contenders.
One of those thought to be high on the list of candidates is Burnley’s Sean Dyche – who has impressed at Turf Moor, despite a relatively restricted budget.
Whilst big names such as Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger are also thought to have been contacted about the prospect of taking on the St James’ Park hot-seat,
Newcastle-born Michael Carrick is another that has been considered, following some impressive work as coach at Manchester United.
Nearly every Bookmaker has a different favourite, with BetVictor making Jose Mourinho their new favourite.
BetVictor’s Head of antepost Football Michael Triffitt commented: “As expected Rafa Benitez will leave Newcastle when his contract expires shortly.
“With big offers from China it looks like that’s where he will be heading next. Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is the new 5/1 favourite after been supported from 12/1.”