Mike Ashley ‘asks Rafa Benitez to keep Newcastle United in the Premier League

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has “asked” former boss Rafa Benitez to return to the club and “keep them in the Premier League”.

The Spaniard spent three seasons at St James’ Park before leaving in 2019, replaced by ex-Sunderland man Steve Bruce.

While he kept them up last season, Magpies supporters have seen him lead them on a run of just three wins from their last 16 games in all competitions.

And transfer expert Ian McGarry has reported that Ashley has now taken action, getting in touch with Bruce’s predecessor.

Speaking on the Transfer Window Podcast, he said: “It’s our information that Mike Ashley, the current owner, has been in touch with former head coach Rafa Benitez, who has been managing in the Chinese Super League but is back in situ in England.

“He asked Benitez if he would be willing to return to St James Park and guide them to safety.”

The Spaniard took Newcastle in the season that they were relegated to the Championship, getting them back up to the top flight immediately in 2017.

With a daunting trip to Manchester United ahead, it would “not be a hard sell” to get him back to the club.

Benitez is currently available, having left Chinese Super League side Dalian in January after recording just 12 wins in 38 games.

And it saw him get linked with the job as Celtic manager but speculation has now calmed.

It comes as Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville was left flabbergasted with their “lack of togetherness” ahead of their 2-0 loss to Chelsea.

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  • He said “Where's the rest of the team? Half the team are walking out.

    “No but be together when you walk out onto a pitch. How many players have they got? Have they had someone sent off?

    “You don't leave the dressing room until all of you are together.”

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