Rafa Benitez is eyeing a sensational return to Newcastle and has identified two England stars as his first couple of signings, according to the Telegraph.
Benitez left Newcastle to manage Chinese Super League side Dalian Professional in 2019 after a row with owner Mike Ashley that was reportedly centred around a lack of backing in the transfer market.
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However, with Newcastle’s £300m Saudi takeover in progress at the moment, Benitez is eyeing a return to Tyneside to manage the club he left last year, according to the Telegraph.
The Spanish boss is still revered by Newcastle fans following his three-year stint at the club from 2016 to 2019 and according to the report, the 60-year-old has already identified two signings that he would like to bring to Newcastle.
According to the report, Benitez is interested in signing John Stones from Manchester City and Ross Barkley from Chelsea.
Stones has failed to hit the heights expected of him since his switch to Man City in 2016 while Barkley hasn’t pinned down a regular starting spot at Stamford Bridge under Frank Lampard despite a handful of good performances.
However, should Benitez take over from Steve Bruce at Newcastle, he looks set to have a huge transfer budget at his disposal with fresh funds coming in from the new Saudi owners.
Chelsea fans might not be too pleased to see their former manager Benitez coming in for one of their players, though Barkley hasn’t really done enough in his time with the west London club so is probably replaceable.