Dean Saunders dismissed the idea that Newcastle United fans could end up feeling differently about Rafa Benitez after his next career move was confirmed.
Laura Woods asked the pundit whether Magpies supporters could change their minds about feeling sad over Benitez leaving St James Park, given that he has confirmed he is set to be the manager of Chinese side Dalian Yifang.
The Sun previously reported that Benitez was set to rake in the money if he became manager of the Chinese club as he would earn £12million-a-year, however, Saunders pointed out that in his opinion the Magpies manager didn’t leave for the money.
“No, he hasn’t gone for the money, he could have gone a long time ago,” said Saunders on talkSPORT (9:28am, Tuesday, July 2nd).
“He hasn’t been backed for three years, and he has kept them up, he has gotten Ashley out of trouble in the way he has coached the team, organised the team as he has got results against the bigger club.
“And most of all every time he has kept them up that’s another 160million quid, so he has done it without hardly spending a penny, well he spent a little bit at the end.”
Why would Newcastle fans suddenly turn on a manager they were gutted to see leave their club? It would be childish and immature. Benitez is free to pick his next career move and is able to go wherever he wants. So why shouldn’t he go to a club that is going to pay him well and perhaps give him a fresh challenge? While some may look down on the Chinese league, as it’s not at the same level as the Premier League just yet, him arriving could make a real difference to the division. Benitez may not solely be motivated by money and could be just helping a country develop it’s top-flight by managing one of its notable sides. Woods herself didn’t seem to think Newcastle fans would turn on Benitez, but clearly felt she had to address the elephant in the room by putting the question to Saunders. Benitez guided the Magpies to a 13th place and 10th place finish in the Premier League across the last two seasons, and it’ll be interesting to see where the club finish under a new boss in the upcoming campaign.