Celtic legend Davie Provan has said he would be shocked if Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez was considering taking over at Parkhead but insisted he would be over the moon if he did.
The Spaniard is out of contract at St James’ Park at the end of the season and there has been plenty of speculation over where he might end up if he does not pen a new deal at the Premier League side.
With rumours linking him with the Glasgow giants and double treble winners, Provan has insisted he would be a huge coup for the Bhoys, insisting he would do anything to see him join his former side.
He wrote in his Scottish Sun column: “I’d give my right arm to see the Spaniard succeed Brendan Rodgers. No disrespect to Neil Lennon, but Benitez is in a different bracket. A Rafa appointment would be like throwing a fox into a hen hut.
“For the last three years, he’s had Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley up against the wall demanding better players. During that time he’s played the Geordie faithful like a fiddle. Benitez could torch the local hospital and still have Magpie punters eating out of his hand.
“You can’t argue with the record of this double-wide Spaniard. In three different countries, he’s won the Champions League, Uefa Cup, Europa League, FA Cup and Coppa Italia. Makes you wonder why he’d give Glasgow a second glance.”
You can imagine there are plenty of clubs who would love to have Rafael Benitez as their manager – Newcastle United included among those. It was a coup when they managed to get him on board three years ago and with his contract coming to an end, it could well be another surprise if he stays on board after the frustration of working under owner Mike Ashley. Unfortunately for Provan and the rest of the supporters at Celtic Park, getting Benitez to take over from temporary boss Neil Lennon looks likely to be a pipe dream rather than something that could happen. His ambitions lie much higher than the Scottish Premiership and he would be wanting a lot more freedom than Peter Lawwell would likely be offering. We all saw how Brendan Rodgers jumped ship when the right opportunity came around. Benitez is not going to want to work in those circumstances either.