With Benitez staying with Newcastle and taking them to the Premier League, a question a lot of fans have been asking is, what can we achieve under Rafa?
Gone are the days of Ashley purchasing the first French player that shows a bit of potential, trying to find the next Hatem Ben Arfa/ Yoan Cabaye. Benitez’s extensive scouting team has led us to be linked with high-quality players like Ruben Semedo. Then on the other hand, the club have been linked with Premier League players like Jay Rodriguez and Kieran Gibbs (link to article) which is something the squad has been sorely missed for 3 or 4 seasons. As this seasons progress, the quality of players linked with us as Newcastle establishes themselves more and more in the league again.
Next season I’m not expecting anything spectacular, regardless of what TalkSport want to tell you about Newcastle fans. I expect Newcastle to finish around 14th/15th with maybe a decent cup run. This creates a solid foundation for the club to build on. The next season the team should push on for a top 10 finish. Having a relatively high league position like that will allow the club to attract even better players to improve the squad even more. Say Benitez stays for a third season in the Premier League, I believe we could finish around 8th or maybe even get Europa League with a bit of luck. Call me biased, I just have faith in my team.
How long will Benitez stay?
All good things have to come to an end and one day Benitez will leave for another club, as much as we don’t want that to happen. In my opinion, I think he’ll stay for another 2 or 3 seasons in the Premier League. Although in an interview for Football Focus he said he would like to be here for 10 years (You can watch that video here, skip to 4:05 to hear him say it). It is going to be a while until he leaves so let’s enjoy the good times while they last.