Benítez open to job of­fers af­ter frus­trat­ing sum­mer

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - RUGBY -

Rafael Benítez has lost vir­tu­ally all trust in Mike Ash­ley’s regime at New­cas­tle United and would be re­cep­tive to al­ter­na­tive of­fers of em­ploy­ment at sim­i­larly sized Premier League clubs.

Al­though New­cas­tle’s man­ager will not walk out in the wake of a dis­as­trous trans­fer win­dow, Benítez is ready to con­tem­plate life away from Ty­ne­side.

He came ex­tremely close to tak­ing over at West Ham two years ago, only for the mooted deal to be hi­jacked by Real Madrid, but re­mains much ad­mired by the Lon­don Sta­dium board.

With Slaven Bilic un­der con­sid­er­able pres­sure at West Ham, it is not in­con­ceiv­able the post could be­come va­cant. Benítez would se­ri­ously con­sider re­lo­cat­ing to Lon­don – al­though Ash­ley would be ex­pected to fight hard to keep him.

A clause in the 57-year-old’s con­tract stip­u­lates that ei­ther New­cas­tle’s man­ager or the club seek­ing to em­ploy him must pay £5m-6m to trig­ger his re­lease, and Ash­ley would be ex­pected to play hard­ball over exit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

With the Sports Di­rect owner likely to force Benítez to re­sign rather than of­fer a ri­val club per­mis­sion to speak to him, any de­par­ture is likely to prove any­thing but straight­for­ward.

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