So with the dust barely settling on Arsene Wenger’s shock announcement that he will quit Arsenal at the end of the season, Rafa Benitez is already being touted as a potential replacement – this was always going to happen.
One might point to the last time a club legend, who’d assembled a dynasty at one of English football’s great clubs, was succeeded by a manager plucked straight from mid-table obscurity as a reason for the Arsenal board to aim their sights a little higher, but it’s clear to see that Benitez is no parallel to David Moyes.
Newcastle fans have been pinching themselves since the day the Spaniard walked into St. James’ Park in March 2016, assuming the frayed reins from Steve McClaren. This is a man with some of Europe’s greatest clubs splashed across his CV, and with a plethora of silverware to boot.
If the Arsenal board were switched on, they would sound out the Spaniard – offering him the budget that Mike Ashley can’t, or rather won’t. The potential at Arsenal – a springboard back to the dining table of European football, an arena where Benitez has excelled, might prove too tantalising for the former Chelsea coach to turn down.
Benitez is approaching a centurion of games at Newcastle, but with uncertainty lingering over the club’s ownership, he could be swayed to take up the mantle at the ambitious North London giants.