A report from The Times has revealed one part of Rafael Benitez’s exit from Newcastle that will surely worry the club’s fans.
The newspaper says that the Magpies currently have no shortlist of potential replacements drawn up, with pre-season set to start on July 4.
This news is just another nail in the coffin to what has already been a dreadful summer for Toon fans. First, there was the talk of Benitez potentially staying on at St James’ Park, before renewed hope of a takeover had fans dreaming.
But neither has yet happened, and the club now look like they will begin pre-season in perhaps some of the worst possible circumstances – still reeling from the exit of Benitez and without any new additions only weeks away from the transfer window closing.
The fact is, Benitez should never have gone. The Spaniard had the seventh-highest win rate of any Magpies manager, after winning 42.47% of his 146 games.
If you look deeper at the different competitions, however, you begin to realise why Benitez staying on would have been the perfect situation.
A 31.4% win rate in the Premier League suggests that the Spaniard didn’t have the best of records, but in both of the last two seasons Benitez has secured Newcastle comfortable positions in the table, finishing 10th in 2017/18 and 13th last term.
Furthermore, he added to the club’s points tally, finishing with 44 in the 2017/18 season before achieving 45 in the last campaign.
In terms of trying to get someone in who can replicate that record, it is going to be very difficult to find someone with a good record who is willing to leave their current job.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has a 30% win rate in the Premier League in his time in the top flight. Again, it may not seem like much, but he is not far off Benitez, which suggests he would do a good job at Newcastle.
But would Howe really leave a job in which he is trusted by the board and where there is stable ownership, for a club which has exactly the opposite?
Newcastle better start thinking of potential replacements, because it is going to be hard to find someone who can take the club forward after Benitez.