Rafael Benitez is reportedly within the body to interchange David Moyes, ought to West Ham United half methods with their supervisor within the coming weeks. The east London membership are at present 18th within the Premier League desk and enduring a seven-game winless run. Determined instances name for determined measures and the Hammers may very well be set to tug the trapdoor on the pinnacle coach they’ve employed for the final three years.
On the floor, Benitez looks like a pure option to observe Moyes into the new seat. Each are skilled, pragmatic coaches. Whereas they loved wildly differing spells at Everton, they’ve each been among the many most revered managers within the league over the previous twenty years. However one may argue a like-for-like change will not be what is required contemplating West Ham’s present predicament.
Maybe claiming the pair are roughly equal does Benitez a disservice. In any case, that is the person who lifted the Champions League following maybe probably the most thrilling ultimate in dwelling reminiscence. Together with that triumph at Liverpool, he has a pair of La Liga titles, a Europa League and a number of home cups to his identify. A world away from Moyes’ sole Group Defend as supervisor of Manchester United when it comes to high flight silverware.
However the final of Benitez’s trophies arrived in 2017, when he gained the Championship with Newcastle United. The Spaniard was deeply beloved on Tyneside, a uncommon beacon of hope through the darkest moments of the Mike Ashley period. You may’t actually blame the previous Valencia supervisor for the Magpies having gone down the earlier yr. He solely joined in March, when Newcastle have been already trying doomed to the drop. However you would additionally state that taking them straight again up was the naked minimal anticipated of Benitez.
Finishes of tenth and thirteenth have been admirable underneath the circumstances. Benitez additionally introduced unity amongst a fanbase who had been divided by the possession. He was a galvanizing determine, somebody who supporters may rally behind. Sadly, the membership wouldn’t rally behind him in the identical manner. Benitez would depart, with the ex-Liverpool head coach and Mike Ashley each telling totally different tales concerning the cut up.
Within the three-and-a-half years since Benitez left St James’ Park, his profession has been quite sparse. There was a 38-game engagement with Dalian Skilled in China. That was lower quick because of the outbreak of COVID-19. The previous Inter Milan supervisor shocked many together with his subsequent transfer. His stunning transfer to Everton in June 2021 might be probably the most instructive tenure when assessing how Benitez would do on the London Stadium.
Benitez took over the Toffees after Carlos Ancelotti left to return to Actual Madrid. The Italian had guided them to a tenth-placed Premier League end. The Merseysiders weren’t pulling up bushes, however existed in a snug mid-table shelter in the intervening time. That quite dramatically modified underneath Benitez.
Admittedly, he was not given the assets his predecessor had loved. Whereas Ancelotti pulled in star names like James Rodriguez, Benitez was requested to make do with the cut-price likes of Demarai Grey and Andros Townsend. However when the supervisor was let unfastened on the purse strings he did not cowl himself in glory. Benitez’s reply to Everton’s troubles up entrance was a transfer for Dalian’s Salomon Rondon. A season-and-a-half on, the previous West Bromwich Albion ahead has scored a single league aim.
The disconnect appeared inevitable. A beloved former Liverpool supervisor taking up at Goodison Park was by no means going to go over nicely. However Benitez had rolled with the punches earlier than. His tenure of him at Chelsea was deeply unpopular on account of earlier feedback he’d made concerning the membership, however he nonetheless gained them European silverware. Nonetheless, Benitez’s failings of him on the blue aspect of town weren’t on account of allegiances or festering rivalries. They have been merely attributable to the actual fact he didn’t get his aspect enjoying nicely.
That is the place one wonders what Benitez has left as a restorative pressure. Newcastle was quite a few years in the past now. How a lot of the rejuvenative magic that saved the Magpies stays? Much more troublingly, his spell de él on Tyneside is the one job Rafa has stayed in for over 40 video games since his 2013-2015 spell at Napoli. With out the followers behind him and in opposition to the house owners, may Benitez take pleasure in the identical longevity that turned his preliminary Newcastle failure into a professional success?
Finally, Benitez appears like a person out of time. An excellent coach however one who represents a bygone period. The 62-year-old may nicely dig this workforce out of hassle. However the Rafa of 2023 appears much less probably to do this than the model from his 2005 pomp and even the 2017 classic that rescued a similarly-floundering Newcastle. Everton tanked underneath his management of him to a level they’ve by no means recovered from. Protesting followers will rightly level out that’s partly right down to the house owners. However can West Ham afford to take that danger?
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