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Reports: Newcastle United manager to China or more nonsense?

Rafa Benitez has been ‘linked’ to a move to China worth £10m. But just how much can we believe?

Newcastle United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Amid reports that Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley are fleshing out a new contract for Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez to sign, there is news coming from The Mirror involving a potential move to China for the Spaniard.

Dubbed an “exclusive” The Mirror claims that Chinese side Shanghai SIPG has made an offer to Rafa Benitez involving a £10m salary. The potential three-year deal will be lucrative for Benitez as China seeks to continue its poaching of high profile players and managers from the west.

Part of this is that they are looking for Rafa to walk away from Newcastle United now, which just isn’t going to happen. That’s what makes this report highly suspect. Rafa has never just walked from a contract and is a consummate professional and is unlikely to do so. Yes, Mike Ashley has a clause in the contract that could cost Rafa and any club that attempts to lure him away, but Benitez has shown no sign of looking to walk before the season comes to a close.

Rafa was of particular interest to Chinese clubs two years ago following Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship after Rafa’s first half-season in charge. He turned down the deal then to remain at the club, and I see no reason to suspect that Rafa would simply walk away from Newcastle United for money in a league where he would not command the same prestige as he does in the west.

Another reason Rafa would be unlikely to move to China? He has family in England, and has expressed great interest in remaining in the country. China would be an interesting move for someone who wishes to stay close to the roots he has planted in the country.