Rafa Benitez has been backed to complete a sensational return to Newcastle if the proposed £300million Saudi takeover is completed.
Benitez left Newcastle in 2019 after failing to get the assurances he wanted from owner Mike Ashley.
In his three years at St James’ Park, Benitez brought the club back into the Premier League and reestablished them as a top-flight club without major spending.
Benitez’s departure for the Chinese Super League side Dalian Pro and the arrival of Steve Bruce as his replacement angered already disgruntled supporters.
However, with the takeover from Saudi Prince Mohamed bin Salman on the brink of completion, speculation has linked Benitez with a return to Tyneside.
And one of his former players from his spell at Valencia, Miguel Angel Angulo, says a Newcastle homecoming for Benitez would be ‘great’.
“I believe he is one of the greatest managers that Valencia CF have ever had. It was a great experience for us as players, as we learnt a lot under him,” he told Tribalfootball.com.
“I think it would be phenomenal for Benitez to return to Newcastle, given how well he knows the club.
“I know that Benitez was based in England for a long time now but I don’t know the reasons that he left Newcastle the first time around.
“He has a great reputation in England and he is very hard working too. It would be great if he could return to the Premier League.”
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Benitez’s return would mean the end of Bruce’s time in charge of his boyhood club.
Earlier this month, Bruce pleaded for a chance to prove he can manage Newcastle under new ownership.
He told Sky Sports: “We all aspire in management, we all aspire to be Pep (Guardiola), Jurgen (Klopp)… these great managers who’ve been a breath of fresh air to football.
“Jurgen Klopp coming into this country, you just have to applaud him for his tactics and the way Liverpool play.
“If it’s good for Newcastle, and the club are going to try to compete with these teams, to be part of it would be great. I would love to see it and I’d love to be part of it.
“I hope it’s where it goes, but in the meantime I’ll just crack on, wait, roll my sleeves up and get on with trying to get some results to try and get the club going forward.
“If that happens for Newcastle in the future, then great – I’d be delighted. You do get labelled in the game, and that’s why I enjoyed my time managing in the Championship. I’d back myself against most people in that division.
“But to be in a position where you’re actually challenging, and you have a good enough team as Newcastle did in 1995 and under Sir Bobby Robson as well, then it would be wonderful. I’d back myself, of course I would.
“Management, whether you’re managing in the lower division or you’re right at the top, it’s about getting the best out of what you’ve got. And if you can do that, I’d back myself to have a crack at it. I’d be confident that I’d be able to do it.
“Whether that’s ever going to be the case, who knows?”
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