There is one thing you have to admire Richard Keys for.
It is amazing how he can turn just about any situation into one where he can have a go at/annoy Rafa Benitez and/or Newcastle United fans.
On this occasion it is the problems Everton are having.
Despite spending serious money in recent years, including £108m (source Transfermarkt) this summer, they find themselves in the relegation zone.
A 1-0 defeat at Burnley on Saturday was their fourth Premier League defeat in a row, having lost to Man City, Sheffield United and Bournemouth.
Marco Silva surely now living on borrowed time.
Richard Keys has recommended Rafa Benitez for the job, insisting ‘Don’t believe he wouldn’t take it. He tried twice to get it when he was at Newcastle – before Sam and Silva. He’d walk back from China for it.’
The Liverpool connections have always made this look impossible from both (Rafa and Everton fans) sides. Maybe Richard Keys is right on that not being the case but I doubt it.
What I am 100% sure of is that I don’t believe Rafa Benitez tried to walk out on Newcastle twice to get the Everton job, although nobody would have blamed him if he had, due to his lack of backing from Mike Ashley.
In these last 20 or so years since he managed Valencia, Rafa hasn’t walked out on anybody when under contract.
Richard Keys also has a go at him for taking the Chelsea job. It took bottle for him to take it and it is the Chelsea fans who should be embarrassed because of their treatment of him. Rafa was without a club and came in and rescued them that season after a bad start, ending 2012/13 winning the Europa League and qualifying top four for the Champions League.
Rafa Benitez has now done a great job in China, taking Dalian Yifang away from relegation trouble and they are safe already, 16 points clear of relegation with five games to play. Indeed they are seventh and only four points off fourth.
What wouldn’t surprise me is if there is indeed a release clause built into Rafa’s contract there, to potentially suit both sides, just in case it didn’t prove the right fit. The league season ends on 1 December 2019 so not biggest surprise if there were approaches for Rafa once he has ended the season in China, whether that could mean Everton or whoever and whether Rafa would take it, remains to be seen.
Richard Keys writing on his own personal blog:
‘I’ve never thought Silva was the man to take Everton forward. They’d have been better off marking time with Sam and looking around for the right successor.
‘Everton are not the first club to waste a fortune and they won’t be the last and they’ve got to get on with it now.
‘Arsene Wenger is available of course. So is David Moyes and my call left field last week was Rafa.
‘Don’t believe he wouldn’t take it. He tried twice to get it when he was at Newcastle – before Sam and Silva.
‘He’d walk back from China for it.
‘Rafa doesn’t do ‘emotion’ – as he proved when he went to Chelsea.
‘He does what he believes is right for himself. He always has. Ask Mike Ashley.
‘If Newcastle fans are wondering why I’m suggesting Rafa – let me explain.
‘Never have I said he isn’t a good coach. We all know he is.
‘What irritated me about his time at Newcastle was the constant moaning. He knew the deal. So get on with it.
‘Despite being told time and again that he’d walk into one of the world’s top jobs on leaving Newcastle I said he wouldn’t. He didn’t. He had the best job he was ever going to get in England – unless Everton are brave enough. Let’s see…’