Belfast Telegraph

Rafa Benitez could be man chosen to take Manchester City forward

By Ian Herbert

Rafael Benitez is considering a return to England next season and another crack at management, a development which would put him in contention to become Manchester City manager if the club decide to replace Manuel Pellegrini this summer.

Benitez is well known to City's director of football Txiki Begiristain and, as seems increasingly likely, the Spaniard decides not to accept Napoli's offer of a contract extension beyond this season, that might make him attractive to City. The club's 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on Monday has put them at risk of being dragged into a battle for the Premier League fourth spot with Liverpool.

Benitez (54) has maintained his remarkable track record in European competition at Napoli, who resume their Europa League campaign with a quarter-final first leg against Wolfsburg next week, a season after their three-way tie with Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, in which they were edged out on goal difference.

The former Liverpool manager's family have remained on Merseyside during his two years in Naples, which has always made the prospect of a return to England attractive to him and the north west particularly so.

City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak faces a quandary as he decides who should take an ageing squad forward. The ideal candidate is Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola, whose football philosophy is precisely what City are looking for, though the Spaniard is unlikely to be available before the summer of 2016.

Belfast Telegraph


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