Where next for former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez after Newcastle exit?

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Rafael Benitez will be considering his options after it was announced he will be leaving his post as Newcastle manager when his contract expires on June 30.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at where the Spaniard could work next.

Chinese Super League

With contract negotiations at Newcastle appearing fraught in recent weeks, Benitez has been heavily linked with a big-money move to China. Reports claim the 59-year-old has been offered £12 million per year to take over at Dalian Yifang. This would make him the highest-paid manager in China. There has been little indication as yet, however, that Benitez is tempted.

Spain

Benitez’s Newcastle exit comes five days after it was announced Luis Enrique was standing down as manager of the Spain national team for personal reasons. Enrique’s assistant, Robert Moreno, has taken over and is due to lead them through to Euro 2020, but Spain have now had four managers in the past year and appointing another one, if results are bad, is hardly inconceivable.

Chelsea

It seems unlikely, but a return to Chelsea is a possibility. The London club are looking for a new manager after Maurizio Sarri’s move to Juventus. Frank Lampard has been heavily tipped for the job, but there has been no significant development on that front in the week since Sarri’s departure. Benitez boasts the same credentials that attracted Chelsea to him when he had a stint as interim boss at Stamford Bridge in 2012/13. That spell yielded Europa League success. The downside was that he never truly won over the fans due to his past Liverpool connections, and that would count against him again.

Other Premier League club

It is thought Benitez would prefer to stay in England. His family are settled in the country and are still based on Merseyside following his successful time at Liverpool from 2004 to 2010. But, Chelsea aside, there are no big jobs currently available. He would have to bide his time and wait for an opportunity. His move to Newcastle shows it need not be a top-six club, but he would look for somewhere with notable stature. He would surely also consider openings in La Liga or Serie A should they arise.

Newcastle

Stranger things have happened. If Newcastle struggle to find a new boss, or their much talked about, on-off takeover ever happens, maybe an olive branch could be offered. It would certainly be popular with supporters.

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Harry Maguire's potential switch to Manchester City and other rumours from the British papers

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Harry Maguire

The rumour mill is in full churn as we approach the thick of summer – see what Monday’s British newspapers had to say in the transfer gossip column.

What the papers say

Leicester City’s Harry Maguire could seal an £80million switch to Manchester City this week, according to the Daily Mirror. The 26-year-old is ready to join City over rivals Manchester United, who have also been pushing to land him, in a world record transfer for a defender, the paper says.

Unai Emery will push the Arsenal board for more cash to land number one attacking target Wilfried Zaha, The Sun reports. The paper says the Gunners boss has had his transfer budget limited to £45million after failing to reach the Champions League, but Crystal Palace’s Zaha would be expected to cost at least £55million. Zaha is said to be seen as central to Emery’s summer rebuild.

Manchester United will reportedly trigger Marcus Rashford‘s 12-month contract extension amid fears he could leave on a free when his current deal expires. The Sun claims Old Trafford chiefs will activate the 21-year-old’s extension before the end of next week, as Real Madrid and Barcelona both show interest in landing him.

Rashford

Meanwhile, United are set to go head-to-head with Liverpool to land Real Betis defender Junior Firpo, according to reports. The Daily Mirror says the 22-year-old has attracted the attention of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he plans an overhaul of his playing squad, with reports in Spain suggesting Betis are willing to let Firpo leave providing his £45million release clause is met.

Inter Milan are reportedly still some way off arriving at an agreement with Manchester United for the sale of Romelu Lukaku. The Daily Mail says reports in Italy suggest Inter, who have made the 26-year-old their priority signing of the summer, are at least £20million off the asking price.

Social media round-up

Players to watch

Mateo Mejia: Manchester United will sign the 16-year-old Spaniard from Real Zaragoza after seeing off rival bids in England and La Liga, The Sun claims. The paper reports United are paying an initial £600,000 for the youngster.

Che Adams: Southampton have made a final £14million offer for the Birmingham player, according to The Sun. The club have been trying to land the 22-year-old since their £10million bid was rejected in January but will not be held to ransom, the paper says. The Blues are said to be wanting closer to £16million for the striker.

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Tammy Abraham determined to make his mark at Chelsea

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Tammy Abraham insists it is now or never for Chelsea’s loan army to make their mark as he revealed he is planning to stay at Stamford Bridge.

The striker, who will return from a season-long loan at Aston Villa, is due to link up with Blues ahead of their pre-season tour to Japan.

Chelsea have been hit with a transfer embargo by FIFA, banning them for registering players for two windows after breaching regulations regarding minors.

Chelsea had 41 players out on loan last season – including Abraham’s Under-21 team-mates Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori at Derby.

And after selling Eden Hazard to Real Madrid for £89million this month Abraham wants to finally make an impact at Stamford Bridge with the Blues unable to sign a replacement.

“Yes, definitely. That’s how all the young players at the club are looking at it,” said the forward, who will return home after England Under-21s’ failed Euro 2019 campaign following Monday’s final Group C game with Croatia in San Marino.

“There is a great chance for us so we must get our heads down and training and go for it at Chelsea.

“I have already been talking to the club about pre-season. I’m going to have a couple of weeks and then come back hitting the ground running.

“I do feel ready for Chelsea. I really do. There is no better time for a young player to be at Chelsea.  I am going to give it my all.

“I feel I needed that little push, some people might call more experience. Obviously I had a season at Swansea which didn’t go too well but that is another experience in itself.

“I had that season at Bristol City, my first experience of proper men’s football that gave me such a valuable insight into what to expect.

“Then this season at Aston Villa as well when I played under the pressure of people asking if I could score goals and help them get back into the Premier League.

“Well I have been there, done that and now I have full confidence in my ability to score for Chelsea in the Premier League.”

Record Chelsea scorer and current Derby boss Frank Lampard is heavily tipped to replace Maurizio Sarri, who joined Juventus last week, as manager and Abraham would be excited to work with him.

Lampard

“Yeah, if it was him to take over the job. I believe in myself and there is no better guy to play under as well,” said the 21-year-old, who scored 26 times last season as Villa secured promotion by beating Lampard’s Derby in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.

“He’s someone you have grown up watching and has been at Chelsea forever. Like I say, he knows about me as well – I played against his team in the play-off final!”

England Under-21s cannot reach the last four at Euro 2019 after defeats to France and Romania last week.

Abraham – who has one senior cap – came off the bench to score in Friday’s 4-2 loss to Romania in Cesena and will start his final Under-21 game in Serravalle.

“It is quite sad really. Demarai (Gray) and I were reminiscing in our room last night,” he added.

“This is our last Under-21 tournament and it is only just hitting us now really. You still believe in your head that you are young.

“It’s sad as well because we wanted to finish with a win. Most of us know we have fantastic players. I believe most of us can go back to our clubs and be banging on the door of the first teams.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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