Rafa Benitez reaffirms commitment to Newcastle despite West Ham link

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benitez has reaffirmed his commitment to Newcastle – after being linked with a shock move to West Ham United.

Benitez has emerged as one of the contenders to replace Slaven Bilic at the London Stadium with the Hammers boss believed to be under pressure after a poor start to the season.

One report yesterday claimed the Premier League side would consider Benitez if Bilic was unable to turn things around.

But Benitez is happy at Championship leaders Newcastle, and showed his love and feel for the region by undertaking a tour of some of the North East’s most famous landmarks yesterday in a bid to learn more about his new home.

Benitez, together with fitness coach Francisco ‘Paco’ de Miguel Moreno and first team coaches Mikel Antia and Antonio Gomez Perez, had a tour around the region on a day off from training.

They visited the Castle Keep, in Newcastle, had their picture taken next to the Angel of the North, and had a tour around Durham Cathedral.

It was all part of Benitez’s bid to learn more about the North East, with the Spaniard keen to forge more links in the community.

On visiting the Castle Keep, Benitez said: “It is a wonderful, historic place at the very heart of the ‘old’ Newcastle which really gave me a feeling for this city and its history and the fact that the city name originated from this Castle in medieval times.”

Benitez signed a three-year deal at Newcastle back in May after an initial 10-game stint.

Meanwhile, Bilic is not the only Premier League manager believed to be nearing the sack – with former Newcastle boss Alan Pardew’s position at Crystal Palace also rumoured to be under threat.

Palace have lost their last five games to slip down the table, and one report yesterday suggested the owners at Selhurst Parkwere considering his future, with Sam Allardyce being considered as an alternative.

Former Newcastle and Sunderland boss Allardyce has been out of work since leaving his job as England boss after just 67 days following newspaper revelations.