Chelsea Have Started Talks With Rafa Benitez For Next Manager
Chelsea are reportedly in talks with former interim boss Rafa Benitez about taking over as their new manager.
According to Turin based newspaper TuttoSport, the Europa League winners are lining up the Toon boss to take over from Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri guided Chelsea to third place in the Premier League and Europa League glory, but has endured a turbulent season at the helm and is set to leave.
Benitez was appointed interim manager at Chelsea in November 2012 to replace Roberto di Matteo, just months after the Italian had won the Champions League.
The Spaniard's connection to Liverpool, and his rivalry with Chelsea and Jose Mourinho during his tenure at Anfield, made him a very unwanted man at Stamford Bridge.
His arrival was met with boos and banners from fans and the hatred lasted all season, despite him leading the club to Europa League success, and he was replaced at the end of that season by Jose Mourinho.
Now, with Sarri expected to return to Italy, it looks like there could be another return in the Blues hot seat, that would likely be unpopular again.
Benitez has been managing Newcastle United since March 2016. They were relegated to the Championship under his management, they were all but down when he took over, but brought them straight back up.
He has worked miracles with the Magpies on a small budget, which would appeal to Chelsea under their current transfer ban, and been very popular in the north east.
However his contract runs out this summer and, with the future of the club's ownership up in the air, a new deal hasn't been sorted for them.
Sarri's one season in charge has mirrored Benitez's with both men winning in Europe and finishing third in the Premier League but his methods have come under fire, especially midway through the season.
The former Napoli manager ran Juventus close in the Serie A title race when he was in Naples and a chance to manage the Old Lady to a first league title would be huge for him.
Imagine the scenes at Stamford Bridge if Benitez is appointed again.