Benitez’s contract expired at the end of June and after a few weeks of searching for a replacement, Newcastle eventually hired former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce from Sheffield Wednesday.
Bruce lost his first match in charge on Sunday when Arsenal won 1-0 against the Magpies at St James’ Park and BBC pundit Crooks has suggested that it could be a long season for the Tyneside club.
“As for Newcastle? I did tell you Rafael Benitez would leave if the owner could not match his ambitions. Now he’s left the Magpies are up the creek without a paddle. Good luck with that,” Crooks said on the BBC Sport website.
It was a bit obvious, wasn’t it? A lot of people predicted that Benitez was going to quit Newcastle in the summer if he was not offered what he wanted by Ashley and that seems to be exactly what happened. It speaks volumes that most of the players that the Magpies signed after Benitez left were players that had previously been linked with moves to St James’ Park. Bruce has been accused of being a yes-man but other than Andy Carroll’s arrival, have Newcastle signed anyone that looks like it was solely him who pushed the deal? Joelinton had been linked with Newcastle for a while. As reported by the Daily Star last month, Benitez was offered the chance to sign Joelinton but was not keen on the deal as he didn’t think the Brazilian striker was worth Hoffenheim’s valuation. It remains to be seen if Benitez was correct but it’s no coincidence that as soon as the Spaniard left, Joelinton was on his way to St James’ Park in a club-record deal.