Rafa’s still the gaffer, but for how much longer?

We get the impression that, if Rafa Benitez wasn’t so settled in England and had somewhere else to go, then he would be off like a shot. He appears to be staying at Newcastle more because he doesn’t have an alternative than because he wants to.

He has a home in Jesmond and a home on the Wirral and commutes regularly between the two. He is unlikely to get another job in the Premier League with a club as big as Newcastle. Having already managed a big club in Liverpool, and a smaller club in Chelsea the only others left which would fit his particular bill are Mancheter United, Manchester City and Arsenal and even if he wanted any of those jobs he is very, very unlikely to get them.

So, geographically and emotionally, he is where he wants to be. He cannot, however, state publicly that these are the reasons for staying. No, he has to cite the size of club, the amazing fanbase and the potential as his reasons.

However, his patience, one suspects, can be tried to it’s limit. It is just a question of where that limit is. Mike Ashley, despite an interview where he appeared to be reasonably honest about the situation, hardly filled anyone associated with the club with any confidence that things are going to improve at any time in the near future and Rafa is not one who will appreciate a relegation battle for a second time.

So unless Rafa Benitez is a really, really good manager and can turn what he already has into a top half team, his future at Newcastle may not be as lengthy as he would have wished.

Philippe Coutinho

Little Phil Coutinho says he loves Liverpool. He loves it more than anything. He loves the fans, he loves the manager, he loves scouse and he loves the Beatles! In fact nothing could ever tear him away from his adopted home that he loves sooooooo much!

Except maybe an offer from a bigger club, where he might actually win big trophies, get paid more money and have much less trouble with the language. Not forgetting a more agreeable climate, Christmases at home with the wife and kids and fewer freezing cold away trips during the winter months.

Liverpool, as is their right, have said that he is not for sale. Coutinho, as is his right, has served notice of his intentions to leave in the form of a written transfer request.

The simple answer, from both points of view, is to pocket the money and let him go. He may agree to stay another year but would he be the consummate professional or would he sulk? South Americans tend to sulk and this would not, as some seem to think, prevent Barcelona from buying him a year from now. He would just explain the situation to them and they would wait. What good does any of this do for Liverpool?

Never mind that there is not much time to replace him. That, as usual, is an excuse by the team not wanting to sell. They always manage to replace him when he is injured and they still managed to finish in the top four last season.

Manchester United have never replaced Cristiano Ronaldo but they still had many successes after he departed.

Tottenham have never replaced Gareth Bale, yet are having some of their best ever times at present.

A good team, particularly one with a good manager, do not rely on one player.

The first weekend

After one whole game of the new season pundits are already proclaiming that the title will be a two horse race between the Manchester clubs. They may be right, they may not be.

Tottenham Hotspur, although winners at Newcastle, were less than convincing and will face much tougher tests in the months to come.

After comedies of errors in the defensive departments of both Arsenal and Liverpool they have been very quickly written off as contenders for the crown.

Antonio Conte is already preparing his excuses. After stating that this season would NOT be a “José Mourinho season” fans are now beginning to wonder which “José Mourinho season” he means, possibly one of the title winning ones?

He is unhappy with the Diego Costa situation, he is unhappy with the lack of new signings and he is unhappy that Nemanja Matić was sold to Manchester United. If he were to stop and think for a moment, he would probably also be unhappy with Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas for getting sent off against Burnley and the rest of the team for losing at home, but he probably assumes that these things are all part of a conspiracy against him!

A return to Italy is on the cards for Antonio and sooner than a lot of people think.

So that’s it. Nothing else of note to report and, now that the title is all but wrapped up, we can go on our summer holidays and forget all about football for nine months until the next big transfer window.

  1. RedMe says:

    Conte shot himself in the foot with Diego Costa and will regret it. If Liverpool could sell Suarez, they can sell Coutinho he spends plenty time injured anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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