Rafa Benitez turned down job offers in summer
After winning promotion to the Premier League in the 2016/17 season, many people expected Newcastle to go straight back down the season after.
Newcastle did not spend much after being promoted and their squad did not have too much quality.
Despite this, Rafa Benitez was able to guide Newcastle United to a 10th place finish in the 2017/18 season, an incredibly impressive achievement given what he had at his disposal.
With Rafa’s managerial skills and some good investment over the summer, Newcastle could perhaps have been challenging for European football this campaign.
Instead, Newcastle spent very little money this summer and started the weekend 15th in the Premier League.
This is something Benitez will no doubt be furious with as he has recently revealed he could have left Newcastle this past summer.
Benitez reportedly received offers from several clubs with more money but chose to stay as he believed with some investment Newcastle could have been a much better side:
“This club was an opportunity to be in the top 10.
“We couldn’t save the team in the first year and then we won the Championship, so we said, ‘OK, now is the time (to invest)’.
“Then you say the first year back in the Premier League is quite difficult but we finished 10th, ‘now is the time’.
“Then it’s the third year, and you try, you try, but…I had teams and agents talking (to me) with more money than here.”
Newcastle in relegation scrap
As mentioned above, Newcastle began the weekend 15th in the league and involved in a relegation battle.
Newcastle face Chelsea in Saturday’s late kick-off and could easily slip into the relegation zone if they lose.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have a chance to put some distance between themselves and 5th place Arsenal after Arsenal lost to West Ham in the early kick-off.
Both teams line-up for Saturday’s game can be seen below.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 12, 2019
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 12, 2019