It’s all if, buts and maybes at this point, but you do wonder whether former Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has regretted his decision to leave the club in the days since his departure was announced.
Obviously the many, many Renminbi he will be earning with his new club Dalian Yifang will ease his mind if he ever has doubts, but there’s no mistaking that he has sacrificed competitively to make the switch to China.
Problems with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley led him to leave the club, of course, but perhaps he’s thinking twice about his decision – particularly after the Daily Star reported recently that the Magpies’ transfer budget now stands at £100million.
Benitez never had that sort of cash to play with during his time in the north east, and while Charnley promised him he’d get £60million to spend this summer if he stayed on at St James’ Park, he couldn’t have known that number would eventually reach £100million.
Of course, the reason for that is the sale of attacker Ayoze Perez to Leicester City and the expected departure of midfielder Isaac Hayden, two players Benitez wouldn’t have wanted to leave.
However, the Star’s report states that Charnley is sticking to his guns and will offer Benitez’s replacement the same £60million transfer budget – now up to £100million due to player sales – that he put on the Spaniard’s table.
Benitez is surely frustrated looking on at the budget his successor will receive on Tyneside. With Rafa in charge, £100million would likely have resulted in a significant push up the Premier League table.
That may not be the case with the man who replaces him. But, either way, Benitez is surely envious of the financial situation the new man will find himself in at Newcastle.