This what happens when 'common sense' isn't applied at Newcastle United

As ever, he couldn’t resist a dig.

Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 16:45 pm
Rafa Benitez.

Richard Keys’ hot take on Rafa Benitez’s decision to join Dalian Yifang wasn’t long in coming.

The broadcaster tweeted: “So Rafa ‘walks into one of the world’s top club’s’ just as you’ve all been telling me he would - for £12m a year - not that that crossed his mind when he left Newcastle. Where is Dalian Yifang btw?”

Keys, based in tax-free Doha, seemingly enjoys winding up Newcastle United fans on Twitter.

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Benitez, unquestionably, is one of European football’s most respected coaches.

And he could have walked into a top job closer to home, but £12million – after tax – is an extraordinary salary, even in football.

Up to now, Benitez has been reluctant to leave England, but money, in football as in any other walk of life, talks.

"The challenge now is to create the foundations for success, both now and for the future,” said Benitez, who has taken his coaching team to Dalian. “We’re confident that there is huge potential and great commitment from the directors of the club to create something great at this club."

It was too good an offer to turn down, but Benitez shouldn’t be in China right now.

Had Mike Ashley given him the assurances he wanted in May when the pair met in London, he would have committed himself to United before there was an offer from Dalian. The deal needed to be done in the wake of the team’s 13th-placed finish in the Premier League, but it dragged on. And on. And along came Dalian.

Speaking to The Times, Benitez said: “Common sense says you’ve been successful on the pitch, you’d reached the target the club wanted which was to stay in the Premier League and the same in terms of business – they’d made a profit.

“Any owner would surely say ‘OK, on and off the pitch, you’ve delivered, so this will be an easy conversation’, and then you try to finalise the details. And it was not like that.”

Sadly, it’s not been like that at United for a long time.