The Spaniard is in the final few months of his current contract and, while the indications are that he wants to stay at the club, Balague believes he does have options.
“I know for a fact that he has rejected at least two massive offers – and I mean massive offers – to make him one of the best-paid managers in the world,” he told The Chronicle. “Those offers came from Saudi Arabia and China.
“I also feel that it would be a shame if he had to go in that direction, if there was no club that decides he can push them to win titles in England. He is more than capable of doing that, as we know. I do genuinely feel, however, that if he had the opportunity to do that at Newcastle, that would be it for the next 10 years. He seems very, very settled.”
This, really, is very good news for Newcastle supporters. Balague seems to be adamant in his belief that Benitez wants to stay at the club and potentially to do so for the next decade. However, he warns that his countryman will need to know that the team can compete at the upper echelon for that to happen. That is the big problem at St James’ Park at the moment, of course, where they are severely hamstrung by a disinterested owner. The China offer we have known about, genuine or not, for some time now. The Saudi Arabia link, though, appears to be new. There’s no doubt that there is plenty of money available in those parts of the world, but that is their only attraction really. Benitez has never seemed like someone who is motivated by money. Indeed, his chief problem at Newcastle is that he can’t compete at the highest level, it’s nothing to do with how much he’s being paid. So the links are probably irrelevant, here, but Balague’s belief that Benitez would be happy to stay where he is for the next decade is very interesting.