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Report: Rafa Benitez open to leaving Newcastle

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Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez could be on his way out of the club just three weeks into the start of the Premier League season.

According to a report in The Guardian, Benitez’s relationship with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has soured to the point that he’s open to taking other similar-sized jobs in the Premier League, or perhaps even abroad.

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The report states that Benitez would be open to taking the West Ham job should Slaven Bilic lose his position in the coming weeks.

Following Newcastle’s Championship winning season, owner Ashley reportedly promised Benitez he’d be able to spend freely in the transfer market. However, the club were only able to bring in seven players while releasing 12 others. The club also failed to sign any new reinforcements on deadline day.

Through three weeks, Newcastle is currently in 14th place in the Premier League, with one win and two losses.

Rafa Benitez slams Newcastle for little support

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Rafa Benitez surprised many when the former Real Madrid, Liverpool, and Napoli manager took the Toon job despite the serious possibility of relegation to the Championship. Even more were surprised when he agreed to stay on and build Newcastle back to the Premier League.

Now that the Magpies are back, the Spaniard has expected further support from owner Mike Ashley and the rest of the club executives, but so far that has not arrived, and it’s left the manager annoyed enough to speak publicly about his frustrations.

“We won the Championship and made a £30m profit,” Benitez said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Newcastle’s match against West Ham on Saturday. “I had a meeting with Mike and was expecting we could be in a better position than we are now. We are not. We will see if we can improve as much as we can this week. I will try to do my job.”

Those are ominous words from a manager who took a major step down from his previous positions when he accepted the job at Newcastle, and therefore expects big promises in return. The club has spent nearly $50 million this summer, but they have yet to bring in a player that has made a significant impact, and the club has lost its opening two matches in Premier League play.

Benitez seemed to give Newcastle management a soft ultimatum. “Normally, managers talk about projects saying they need four or five years. I’m not talking about that because you never know in football. When we came here, we knew there were some issues and we had to improve things. I am sure we have done that but we need to improve more.”

“My aim is to improve things so when I leave, whenever it is, I would like to be sure that the team and the club will be better.”

League Cup wrap: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Premier League fixtures: Top 10 must-see games

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The start of a new Premier League season is less than two months away and with it brings some mouth-watering matchups.

As Chelsea look to defend the title, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City Liverpool and Arsenal are all looking to unseat the Blues at the Premier League throne.

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A simple caveat; With so many transfers into and out of the Premier League still to take place, it’s tough to know exactly how strong certain teams will look come the end of the transfer window. But here’s our best shot at it.

Here’s a look at ten (or more) must-see matchups of the 2017-2018 Premier League season.

(more…)

Rafa Benitez will stay with Newcastle as club rejoins Premier League

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All is right in the world as Newcastle returns to the Premier League in 2017/18, and the man that brought the Magpies back will be steering the ship once more.

[ MORE: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s insane goal bonus reportedly leaked ]

Manager Rafael Benitez will be back with the club next season as the Magpies prepare for life once again in England’s top flight after one season removed.

The club confirmed this news on Wednesday:

“Newcastle United can confirm that a meeting has taken place between the club’s owner, Mike Ashley, managing director Lee Charnley, and manager Rafa Benitez.

“It was agreed by all parties that the meeting was very positive and constructive. Mike again congratulated Rafa and his team on gaining promotion to the Premier League as champions.

“Plans for next season were discussed, including the purchase and loan of players to add to the squad in readiness for the Premier League season.”

Sky Sports is reporting that the former Real Madrid coach has been promised roughly $90 million for the upcoming summer transfer window in preparation for the club’s return to the PL.

Benitez helped guide the Magpies to the top of the SkyBet Championship this season after recording 94 points and a goal difference of +45.

Newcastle will be joined in promotion next season by second-place finishers Brighton & Hove Albion, while the third team to rise will be determined by the league’s annual playoffs. Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield and Fulham will all vie for that spot when the playoffs commence this weekend.