Arsene Wenger: I know why Rafa Benitez took on the Newcastle job

Arsene Wenger says he wasn't surprised to see Rafa Benitez take on the Newcastle United job '“ because of the club's potential.
Rafa BenitezRafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Benitez's side take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

Newcastle are 16th in the Premier League table and just a point above the relegation zone.

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Benitez took over at St James's Park the season before last when the club was battling to stay in the division.

And Wenger, writing in the matchday programme, has addressed Benitez's decision to take on the job just months after leaving Real Madrid.

"Rafa Benitez is a manager I know well – we've had plenty of good battles down the years," said Wenger.

"He's a top-class manager, and I can understand why he's taken this challenge at Newcastle.

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"It's a club with a massive potential. The crowd's absolutely fantastic there.

"It's a big club – a very interesting club – and a very interesting challenge, so I'm not surprised that a manager of his quality is tempted by that."