Southampton should move for Rafa Benitez as pressure grows on Newcastle boss

Under-pressure Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has admitted via The Mirror that he is running out of time to turn things around at St James’ Park following a disastrous start to the season, and their Premier League rivals Southampton should be watching developments closely.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the Magpies dropped to the foot of the Premier League table on Saturday following their 1-0 home defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion, which means they have now lost seven of their opening nine top-flight fixtures this term – the other two were both draws.

While the Toon faithful probably won’t turn on the Spaniard, it remains to be seen whether Mike Ashley will be as patient as he certainly won’t want the Tyneside outfit to lose their Premier League status while he is still looking for a potential buyer.

Benitez’s men will hope to pick up their first win of the campaign when they face fellow strugglers Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday.

Why should they be watching developments?

Saints are only four places and four points above Newcastle themselves having only won one of their nine fixtures this season, and they are now without a goal in their previous four top-flight games following their 0-0 draw against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium at the weekend.

It is looking more and more apparent that Mark Hughes isn’t the man to take the south coast outfit back to where they were just a couple of years ago, and despite the Magpies’ poor form Benitez would undeniably be a brilliant appointment for them.

The 58-year-old holds a similar pedigree to Ronald Koeman – who Southampton were so successful under – and he would have the respect of the current players and any potential new signings, too.

The fact that he only has a £100,000 net spend since Newcastle returned to the Premier League in 2017 perhaps proves he isn’t doing such a bad job in all honesty, and Saints should jump at any chance to bring him to St Mary’s.