Newcastle fans are desperate for Rafael Benitez to sign a new contract with the club, but one very controversial linked manager may love the club even more than Tyneside’s favourite Spaniard.
According to The Mirror, the club’s potential new owners do not intend to keep Rafa after his contract expires at the end of this month.
Instead, the report claims, Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his group have identified Mourinho and Arsene Wenger as candidates for the job.
And Mourinho had this to say when quizzed about his future recently by Eleven Sports, reported by Calciomercato: “Winning a fifth championship in a different country or the Champions League with a third club are things I’d like to do, but I wouldn’t do it just for that. I only go where a project convinces me.
“I want to be happy, not necessarily win, I want to be happy and I don’t want to accept a proposal without being convinced of it, that’s what I’ve always thought, that’s why if they told me ‘today there are no conditions to win, but we want you to create the conditions to win’, then I would evaluate it.”
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Mourinho is clearly seeking a new challenge, and you only need see his reaction to Liverpool fans’ stunning rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone in Madrid to see the decorated tactician is yearning for a club with passionate support.
The 56 year-old has taken charge of the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United, all clubs who will ruthlessly dispose of any manager who does not meet their immediate expectations.
It makes sense then, that the ex-Chelsea boss wants a fan base that stands together with its leader, and his comments on Newcastle legend Sir Bobby Robson illustrate the immense respect he has for the club and city.
“Somebody only dies the day when the last person who loves them dies. I still think about him every day,” he said of Sir Bobby after the pair worked together at Barcelona.
He has also heaped praise on the atmosphere on Tyneside, saying: “I always felt beautiful matches at St James’ Park, but difficult matches. I like to go there. I like the feeling of going to Mr Robson’s home. I like that feeling.
“I like the stadium, I think the stadium is really nice. I like the atmosphere. They are a good, enthusiastic crowd. I like the Geordies and I like to go there.”
While there’s no question losing Benitez would hurt the Toon Army, if Mourinho arrived and expressed this sort of passion for the club who could complain?
The Portuguese giant of the game plays no more defensive than Benitez and boasts a better trophy-haul, so could he be the man to bring silverware back to Newcastle?