Celtic have confirmed that Rafa Benitez will not be their manager when they kick off next season.
With the Spaniard’s situation at Newcastle United very much up in the air, the much decorated manager was top of their wish list.
Optimism flowed north of the border (see below) and indeed at one point, Rafa Benitez was backed into short price favourite at the bookies by Celtic fans.
It always appeared though to be very much wild optimism rather than reality, that the current Newcastle boss would drop down to that level, whatever happens at St James Park.
After Celtic won the Scottish Cup on Saturday afternoon, the club released an official statement.
Predictably, the Glasgow club have offered the job to caretaker boss Neil Lennon instead.
Celtic Official Announcement:
“We are delighted to announce that Neil Lennon has been offered the job as permanent Celtic FC manager and the details will be confirmed in the coming days.”
The Mag – 19 May 2019:
Newcastle supporters get ever more anxious as they await an announcement on Rafa Benitez…and for many Celtic fans their hopes/expectations are growing that they could actually bring the much decorated manager to their club.
The media and rumour mill have fuelled the idea of Rafa moving to Glasgow.
Obviously with Mike Ashley involved, there is no guarantee of any sensible outcome at St James Park.
However, it is quite another thing to believe that in any shape or form, Rafa Benitez would have any interest in Celtic, or indeed any other club north of the border.
Whilst neutrals find the idea ridiculous, you can’t blame Celtic fans for having varying degrees of hope in attracting the Spaniard.
Interesting to see the comments below reflecting that range of hopes and expectations.
From those who already think it is a done deal, to those who see zero chance of it happening.
For neutrals, they look in and see such a weak league where it is failure for Celtic not to win all the domestic trophies. Whilst as one of the Celtic fans comments below, if Rafa did go there he would probably have a net spend transfer budget of only £3m or £4m, maybe more than enough to dominate Scottish football but not much to launch a European campaign on!
Celtic fans comment via their Talk Celtic message board:
‘Rafa announced Monday apparently.’
‘Yeah signing new contract with Newcastle.’
‘Lennon saying he is jetting away right after final and has no talks planned with board.’
‘Rumour we have matched what Benitez is looking for. Now it’s up to him.’
‘I’d say Lennon on the ‘B list’ of candidates with the A list consisting the likes of Benitez, Rose, Villas-Boas, Mourinho etc.’
‘Was at a first communion today and apparently the latest from one of the supporters busses guys who works in the club has said DD met Jose and Rafa in London a few days ago.
Jose was said not to be satisfied with the amount of money he’d get to spend on players, but Rafa apparently did not say that, so he’s more a positive depending on the meetings at Newcastle.’
‘I have heard this also mate might be something to it.’
‘Realistically though, what will the budget be?
Can anyone see us spending 20m this summer? I certainly can’t.
I think it will be 7-8m with a net spend of around 3-4m.
This is part of the problem in attracting a top manager.’
‘It seems like Benitez is everyone’s favourite, I can’t really understand why?
He’s done basically nothing for a decade, granted he was astonishing in Europe at both Valencia and Liverpool and was thrown under the bus at Chelsea.
Also, he wants to leave Newcastle because they give him a perpetually small budget…am I missing something?
Why the fu.. would he go to a far smaller league for even less money?
I honestly don’t think he’s the best possible candidate out there. Problem is I don’t know who is.’
‘He’s maybe won a lot less trophies the last 10 years but he has been pretty astounding at Newcastle, given their financial situation. You say that he isn’t the the man for the job, on what basis?
You say this but fail to give your own opinion as to who would be best? You then ask why he would even come… so do you not want him or do you just think he wouldn’t come?
Any person who wouldn’t take Rafa, in my eyes, is absolutely crazy.’
‘While I think Benitez is ‘wishful thinking’ …. the low budget at Newcastle (as you pointed out) is the very reason that he could do things at a club like Celtic. Yes, way less money, but we are operating on a different financial scale altogether.
Relatively speaking .. as the wealthiest club in the league , there would be more than enough potential in the budget to create a team capable of delivering what we want for the next two seasons and more in Europe.’
‘There will be plenty of options in between Benitez and Lennon. The likes of Benitez and Mourinho are the creme da la creme of the managerial world over the past decade or so and would clearly be a big step up. When we look at more realistic candidates it becomes much harder to identify candidates that don’t have a few question marks about them themselves.
That isn’t to say they couldn’t do a good job, or better the Lennon, but it becomes a bit more difficult to say. Benitez would be ideal for me and I think most would agree he’s in the ‘no-brainer’ category if it comes down to him or Lennon.’
‘As much as we’d like a Rafa or Mourinho sort of appointment, it’s sadly pie in the sky as managers like that will have agents just using us to either get their client a better deal in Rafa’s case or a job full stop in Jose’s case.’
‘IF by some miracle our board have got the finger out and lined up Benitez for example…
Even if he leaves Newcastle … he is contracted until end of June…. that’s ok if he’s off somewhere with no European football or no qualifiers…. but Celtic need a man in by end of May to get to work.
Would Celtic have to buy out the last month? Would Ashley just hold him to it if he wants to go to ANY other club ?’
‘Go on Mashley son, dont give him an inch.’
‘There are countless coaches between Benítez and Lennon in ability. We shouldn’t settle for Lennon if Benítez turns us down.’
‘Best possible outcome: Benitez
Be happy with: Bilic or Hughton.’
‘Newcastle managing Director Lee Charnley has been tasked by owner Mike Ashley to lead negotiations with Benitez, Sky Sports News understands…..
So Ashley cannot be bothered dealing with Rafa, delegating the job : newcastle fans convinced they dont want Rafa, so who knows ???’
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