When news emerged on Tuesday morning that Rafa Benitez was approached by Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, with a £12 million a year deal, it seemed unfeasible that Rafa would take it.

Yet, a Sky Sports report on Tuesday evening claimed that the Spaniard is actually considering the offer, leaving Newcastle fans very worried about the situation.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

It still seems unlikely that he will accept the offer – he enjoys being around his family too much – but even him mulling it over should be a sign to Newcastle that he is serious about quitting.

As Chronicle journalist Andrew Musgrove tweeted, he will likely turn the Chinese job down, but if “another job in England comes [sic] available you’d be worried”.

But, in a bizarre way, this rumour may actually help the situation at Newcastle.

If Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley feel that Rafa is seriously considering walking away, it may give them the kick up the backside needed to agree to more of his key demands during the contract talks.

Disaster looms if Newcastle let Benitez leave

The Newcastle owner must surely realise what an unmitigated PR disaster losing fans’ hero Benitez this summer will be – particularly with them currently pushing for season ticket renewals.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United)

And Rafa – himself an astute and clever man – may be making it known he is ‘considering’ the Chinese offer in a canny move to extract as much from Ashley as he can.

If there is any way the club can increase the likelihood of Rafa staying, they must act now.

The alternative could well be a half full stadium, and another round of protests and hostility from those who are in the ground.

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