Rafa Benitez would be tempted by the prospect of managing Fulham, according to the Mirror football writer Darren Lewis.
The reliable journalist made the claim on the basis of the Londoners having “more ambition” than the Magpies, despite getting relegated this season.
Speaking on talkSPORT, he said: “The fans deserve him [Benitez], Ashley doesn’t. I think he could go to any side outside of the top six, possibly even a couple inside the top six. I think he would go to a big club.
“I think he would go to a Fulham. Fulham have go more ambition than Newcastle. They’ve got big money, they didn’t spend it very well last year, but he would be able to spend it properly. I think he would get Fulham straight up, and I think he’d have them competing in the Premier League.”
“I think he would go to a Fulham.”
“Fulham have more ambition that Newcastle. They’ve got big money.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) April 13, 2019
As far as hot takes go, this is absolutely stunning from Lewis. The prospect of Benitez leaving Newcastle isn’t the most ridiculous one in the world, but the prospect of him leaving the club for one that has just suffered the drop, after he has battled so hard to keep the Magpies from enduring that very same, is almost laughable. You can, however, understand why Lewis has said it. At least Fulham would be willing to match the Spaniard’s ambition in terms of spending and transfer activity. That has been his main gripe during his spell on Tyneside, and certainly you get the impression that Mike Ashley will never truly see eye to eye with him in terms of what they are both wanting to get out of the club. Does that mean that Rafa would jump ship if a Championship came batting their eyelashes at him? Almost certainly not, but Lewis still makes a salient point, however sensationalist his rhetoric may be.