Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez was linked with a move to the Chinese Super League this weekend, as the rumours over the Spaniard’s future intensified.
It’s no secret that Benitez was unhappy with the Magpies ’ lack of spending in the January transfer window, although the former Liverpool boss later confirmed he was happy at St James’ Park.
However, he is due to have crucial talks with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley in the summer over the extent of the club’s ambitions should they win promotion back to the Premier League.
Whether he will get the answers he wants to those questions remains to be seen, and has given rise to speculation that Benitez could be casting his eye elsewhere, with Arsenal and now the Chinese Super League suggested as possible candidates should he look to move on.
It was reported that sides from the CSL could offer Benitez an eye-watering £30million-plus-a-year-deal, making him the highest paid managers in the world.
So should Newcastle fans be worried?
It’s all about the lifestyle
One of the key reasons Benitez moved to Newcastle was so he could live back in England, where his family are based.
His wife and children live on Merseyside, and he was keen to find a job where he could combine his career with his home life, and the St James’ Park hotseat ticked the boxes perfectly.
Benitez enjoys living in the area – he has already explored the cultural highlights of the region – and can spend time with his family.
Clearly, a move to China, while financially lucrative, would deny him of the things he appears to prioritise. And while he has shown he has willing to travel to progress his career, following spells in Italy and his native Spain, a moving to the Far East would be a major shift.
Do you think Rafa Benitez could be tempted by a move to the Chinese Super League?
0+ VOTES SO FAR
He’s already turned down a move to China
This could be the key when assessing Benitez’s future. Although things can change very quickly in football, chief sports writer Lee Ryder reported last June how Benitez decided against some big-money offers from China in order to commit to Newcastle following their relegation.
Could he think again? It’s possible, but it’s clear money will not be the deciding factor.
Rafa Benitez knocked back huge offer from China after falling in love with Newcastle United fans
How much is the reported offer?
The details were sparse, but it was reported that unnamed clubs in China are ready to offer him £30million-plus-a-year deal if he were to leave Newcastle at the end of the season.
That equates to around £600,000 per week, and would make him the highest-paid manager in the world.
That’s more than the £11m which former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas reportedly gets at Shanghai SIPG and Sven-Goran Eriksson’s £4m per year at Shenzhen.
Video will play in
How ex-PL players have got on in Chinese Super League
Could clubs in China really pay that?
The Chinese Super League is awash with cash, with several high-profile players now playing in the Far East.
Carlos Tevez is paid £632,000 a week, and the likes of Oscar, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote are all paid handsomely for their services.
But the league has restrictions on the number of foreign players each side can have – meaning high-profile managers could now be on the agenda, as clubs looks to splash the cash.
Which clubs could be interested?
There are 16 teams in the CSL, and all are capable of investing heavily. However, the likes of Changchun Yatai, former winners of the league, and Chongqing Dangdai Lifan are yet to make a mark on the international market.