Rafael Benitez has been manager of Newcastle United for nearly 18 months turning around the fortunes at the club.
The Spaniard has successfully gained promotion from the Championship, despite being at the helm through relegation. Now seven games into the new Premier League season, Newcastle sit mid-table under his management.
Benitez’s CV speaks for itself in terms of experience with Real Madrid, Liverpool and Napoli. Yet he has faced a different type of task at St James Park. The spending budget and standard of players at the club is considerably lower to that of his previous clubs, therefore making his task of keeping Newcastle in the Premier League even tougher.
Rafael Benitez: The Rafalution continues at Newcastle
The 57 year-old has dealt with a frustrating summer transfer window, where he was given only a fraction of the funds many thought he would receive.
Jacob Murphy was the biggest signing for a £10.2m fee from Norwich City. While defender Florian Lejune arrived for £9m along with Joselu, Mikel Merino and Javier Manquillo, none of which seemed to light up the excitement within Newcastle fans.
Yet, Benitez has worked magic with the squad at his disposable so far. Despite losing the first two Premier League games without scoring a goal, Newcastle have now managed three wins and have 10 points.
The Magpies defence has dramatically improved under Benitez, a sure way to keep away from a relegation battle come May.
Benitez has a fragile relationship with owner Mike Ashley and if funds don’t come in January, the former Liverpool boss could walk away.
However, there is positive news for the club, with rumours of a takeover from businesswomen Amanda Staveley, who was seen at Sunday’s game with Liverpool. She has connections with Middle Eastern investors and has previously involved in the takeover of Manchester City.
Under a new owner, surely Rafa Benitez would only guide Newcastle to much happier times.
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