Rafa Benitez will see his contract with Newcastle Utd expire this summer, leading to talk that the Spaniard could be set to move on.
The Magpies finished in 13th place in the Premier League table this season, collecting 45 points from their 38 games to finish comfortably above the relegation scrap.
However, given Benitez’s track record and pedigree, he’ll have ambitions of kicking on and taking Newcastle further up the table in the coming years, and that will mean bringing in reinforcements to improve the squad.
Whether or not the club are willing to back him and hand him a long-term contract remains to be seen in the coming weeks, but reports are already considering possible replacements.
As noted by the Shields Gazette, 12 names have been put forward by the bookmakers to replace Benitez, with Chris Hughton emerging as a candidate after Brighton confirmed he had been sacked on Monday morning.
Christophe Galtier, Graham Potter, Quique Sanchez Flores, Patrick Vieira, Michael O’Neill, Nigel Pearson, Michael Laudrup, Slaven Bilic, Eddie Howe, David Moyes and Gennaro Gattuso are all specifically named in the report, with the Italian tactician currently the favourite based on the odds.
Given AC Milan are at risk of missing out on the Champions League qualification spots in Serie A, Gattuso could well become a free agent this summer, and so it’s understandable that he’s considered the favourite for the Newcastle job.
Time will firstly tell though if an agreement can be reached with Benitez to keep the current management set-up in place at St James’ Park.