Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher reckons Rafa Benitez has little option but the to quit Newcastle United if Mike Ashley remains as the North East clubs owner.
Carragher worked with Benitez during the Spanish managers time at Anfield, and believes that a coach of his ability is simply too good to be at a club whose only real ambition is to remain in the Premier League each season.
“If Ashley stays, Rafa will have to go – those were my final words when I dedicated a column to Newcastle last season. Looking at the situation at the club at the start of this one, from a footballing perspective, it is difficult to explain why my former manager is still there,” Carragher writes in the Times.
“For a coach of Rafael Benitez’s pedigree to be treading water with no prospect of doing anything beyond retaining Premier League status is incomprehensible. There is nothing more he can do at St James’ Park. Not without regime change, and that is not happening.
“The current arrangement is no more than a marriage of convenience, a short-term alliance with no future beyond the season.
“Mike Ashley cannot afford to sack Benitez. Why would he anyway since he is the best man to keep them up and it would only rile disillusioned fans even further?
“Rafa will see out his contract because it would cost £6 million to buy out its final year. Newcastle are a big, prestigious club, Benitez is on a lucrative salary and he retains the overwhelming support of the St James’ Park crowd, but the reality is that they are an institution limping along until an inevitable parting next summer.”