Rafael Benitez has friends in the Leeds United boardroom as the club look to replace Jesse Marsch who was sacked on Monday, The Guardian reports.
The former Liverpool, Newcastle, Chelsea and Everton manager has been out of work since being sacked at Goodison Park just over a year ago and is being linked to the now-vacant Whites job along with West Brom’s Carlos Corberan.
The highly-experienced elder of the two Spaniards won a Champions League at Anfield and a Europa League while at Stamford Bridge, but his playing style is considered to possibly not mesh with what sporting director Victor Orta wants played at Elland Road.
The Guardian report notes: “The highly experienced Rafael Benítez is available, but although he has friends in the Leeds boardroom, the former Liverpool, Newcastle and Everton manager may not be the right tactical fit for Orta, who favours a high-intensity pressing game.”
However, said board is said to have already had a difference of opinion with the report also stating: “While Victor Orta, the director of football who lined up Marsch as Marcelo Bielsa’s replacement, fought long and hard to keep the 49-year-old, other directors advocated change at a club scheduled to be taken over shortly by the San Francisco-based 49er Enterprises, which owns 44% of the club.”
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There is no doubting what Benitez has done in his career, and his CV has numerous big names on it, but since his peak between Valencia and Liverpool he has had far less success, and he flopped at both Inter and Real Madrid.
Arguably, were it not for the fact that Mike Ashley was so reviled by Newcastle fans the manager would not have enjoyed such a positive reputation in his time at St. James’ Park either.
He was run out of Goodison Park after an unpopular six months and hasn’t won a trophy since getting the Magpies promoted as Championship winners five-and-a-half years ago.
The 62-year-old wouldn’t be especially inspiring for the fanbase, and wouldn’t suggest a long-term appointment either although it can be hard to predict the thought-process with the Whites hierarchy.
Benitez was unable to arrest an alarming slide in his previous job on Merseyside, and that is exactly what is required at Leeds United, while his football has had its detractors for years.
Orta may not be in support but he backed Marsch staying in his job so his view may not have the sway with whichever combination of Andrea Radrizzani and the 49ers is currently calling the shots that it once did.
It therefore may depend how many supporters Benitez has at the club, and who they are.
In other Leeds United news, another former Red Bull boss has emerged as one of the main contenders for the role.