Chelsea line up shock return for Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has been linked with a shock move back to former club Chelsea.

Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 10:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 12:50 pm

According to Italian publication Tuttosport the Blues are assessing a number of options, including Benitez, as they prepare for life without Maurizio Sarri, who looks set to be handed the Juventus role.

They also claim Derby County boss Frank Lampard features highly on Chelsea’s wanted list to replace Turin-bound Sarri.

Benitez’s current deal at St James’s Park runs out on June 30, and the club are understood to be waiting on their manager’s decision, with a new contract said to already be tabled.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Rafael Benitez, manager of Newcastle United, applauds the fans after the match during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on May 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

The former Real Madrid, Liverpool and Inter Milan boss took charge of United in 2016.

Benitez’s time at Chelsea was not a particularly happy one, despite winning the Europa League with the Blues in his caretaker spell in 2012-13. Protests by a vocal minority marred “interim manager” Benitez’s time in West London, following on from Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo’s sacking.

Although, Benitez’s relationship with people behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge, including owner Roman Abramovich, remains very strong. That relationship has been highlighted with loan deals struck for Christian Atsu and Kenedy in recent years.

Meanwhile, one avenue for Benitez has been closed off with the news AS Roma have appointed their new manager.

Former Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca has taken the top job after Claudio Ranieri’s departure.

“I am excited and motivated by the task ahead of us. I cannot wait to move to Rome, meet our fans and get started. Together, I believe we can create something special,” said Fonseca.