Manchester United v Everton: Match in pictures
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Everton manager Rafa Benitez has reportedly made it clear that he will not be joining former club Newcastle United despite their high-profile takeover. The Spaniard became a fan-favourite during his three-year stint with the club, and although circumstances are now much more favourable than when he was in charge, he seems set to remain loyal to the Toffees.
Benitez has made a tremendous start to life at Goodison Park, leading his side to fifth in the Premier League table after some solid results.
Their early success has taken the sting out of his controversial appointment, which in itself stems from a six-year spell in charge of bitter rivals Liverpool.
While the 61-year-old has been bedding in well on Merseyside, his former club to the north east have undergone some major changes.
After a broadcast dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia was resolved this week, Mike Ashley finally made way for a Saudi-led consortium which makes Newcastle the world’s richest football club.
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Benitez’s tenure on Tyneside was broadly characterised by punching above their weight while pinching pennies. Today’s brief at St James’ Park will be much different.
The Everton boss is among the list of ambitious targets the club are thought to be monitoring, with fans still holding fond memories of his loyalty when they were relegated to the Championship.
What makes the move even more enticing is Benitez’s healthy working relationship Amanda Staveley, one of the key figures in the takeover, from their first attempt at buying the club in 2020.
However, The Daily Mail claim that the Madrid-born boss will remain committed to his current club.
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Benitez has a logical affinity for Merseyside stemming from his years at Anfield, and there would not be much sense in abandoning his strong start.
Although it would have been a wholesome reunion, Newcastle have plenty of other targets to push for.
The likes of Antonio Conte, Steven Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers have all been mentioned with what should be a hugely exciting project.
Amid all the chaos, Steve Bruce has almost become a forgotten protagonist, but the writing seems to be on the wall.
When all is said and done, the local figure has left his side winless in seven Premier League games, raising doubts over whether he can be trusted with the amounts of cash in the pipeline.
If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, there would be no point in waiting to appoint a new boss.
The report also states that Graeme Jones will step into caretaker charge the next time they take to the field against Tottenham.
Having Jones there to fill the void is handy as they search for the perfect replacement for Bruce which, based on the early signs, will not be Benitez.
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