The Newcastle-linked replacements who could undo Rafael Benitez’s brilliant work

Newcastle’s preparations for the forthcoming season have been hampered significantly by Rafa Benitez’s departure. The Magpies failed to agree terms on a contract extension with the Spaniard, which in turn has left supporters worrying about their prospects of remaining in England’s top-flight next season.

Despite having limited financial resources in an inflated market, the 59-year-old performed heroically to initially bring Newcastle back to the Premier League and then to steer the club away from relegation for two consecutive seasons. He also succeeded to unify the support, as most fans have become massively frustrated with Mike Ashley’s ownership.

Not only does Benitez’s departure evoke uncertainty ahead of the new Premier League campaign, but it also threatens to further sour the relationship between the supporters and the club.

Naturally, in light of a managerial departure, there have been several names linked with the vacant post at St James’ Park, and we have identified three linked successors that would undo Rafa Benitez’s commendable work.

Steven Gerrard

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

The Liverpool legend and Rangers manager, Steven Gerrard, is one of the frontrunners for the Newcastle job. According to the Telegraph, Gerrard alongside Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta, are at the top of the club’s managerial shortlist.

While the 39-year-old has performed admirably to cut Celtic’s advantage at the top of the Scottish Premier League from 12 points in the 2017/18 season to nine points in the last campaign, the Englishman made several signings only to limit Celtic’s dominance marginally. In fact, as of March 2019, Gerrard had made 19 signings during his time as Rangers manager.

In the last three seasons, Newcastle have earnt marginally more money from sales than what they have spent on new signings, which complicates their ability to compete in an age of heightened financial strength. Only Tottenham, Watford and Bournemouth had a better net expenditure than Newcastle last season.

Gerrard’s success at Rangers – he has a win ratio of over 50% – has been primarily fuelled by numerous signings, something that wouldn’t be granted to the same degree at Newcastle, which could represent an impediment to any potential success with the club.

Rafa Benitez, a man of esteemed managerial pedigree and tremendous experience, succeeded in exacting circumstances at Newcastle. Steven Gerrard’s limited managerial experience and dependence on an excessive number of signings would make him an unsuitable candidate to assume first-team responsibilities at Newcastle.

Patrick Vieira

Another individual linked with the managerial position at Newcastle, as reported by the Telegraph, is Nice boss Patrick Vieira. The Arsenal great and former Manchester City midfielder assumed first-team duties at Nice at the start of last season, having previously spent two years with New York City FC in the MLS.

Despite progressing from the MLS to Ligue 1 and earning a creditable seventh-placed finish with Nice last season, his first season in France failed to capture the imagination of supporters.

Despite finishing one place higher with an additional two points on the previous 2017/18 season, Nice had one of the worst attacking records in the division, scoring only 30 goals in 38 games – only relegated Caen and Guingamp had worse records with 29 goals and 28 goals respectively.

Furthermore, Nice had the worst goal difference in the top half of the table, and they were defeated in the first round of the Coupe de France against Toulouse.

This isn’t an attempt to deligitimise Vieira’s achievements, and it’s worth considering that Nice had the second-best defensive record in the league (equal with PSG on 35 goals conceded), but stepping up to the Premier League – a division renowned globally for its competitiveness – and operating under the restrictions of an Ashley-run organisation could prove too challenging for the Frenchman.

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Garry Monk

According to the Northern Echo, Garry Monk has been touted as a candidate to succeed Rafa Benitez.

The Englishman had a very promising start to his managerial career at Swansea, where he guided the Welsh club to their best-ever finish of 8th place in the Premier League in the 2014/15 season.

He also did well at Leeds United and came close to guiding the club to the play-offs during his only season with the Whites. However, he has struggled since.

Despite spending a mammoth total of more than £50,000,000 on eight players during his brief stint with Middlesbrough, Monk was sacked less than six months into his spell with, having only won 12 of his 27 games in charge.

At Birmingham, much like Benitez at Newcastle, Monk faced obstacles that weren’t of his own making, as he addressed in his departing statement, but avoiding relegation to League One is a far cry from competing in the Premier League.

Monk would require a club of greater stability than Newcastle to rekindle his best managerial form, and equally the Magpies need a manager capable of providing favourable results instantly.

Article title: The Newcastle-linked replacements who could undo Rafael Benitez’s brilliant work

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