Reliable Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has dismissed the talk linking Rafa Benitez to Celtic.
The Daily Mirror had reported last night that Benitez was to be appointed the new Hoops boss after leaving Chinese Super League side Dalian Pro.
This comes after a shocking season for Celtic on the pitch. Neil Lennon’s men sit 23 points behind Rangers with only three games in-hand. It’s been a monumental collapse and fans are demanding change.
But according to the high-profile and experienced Balague, that won’t come in the form of Benitez. The journalist took to Twitter to answer a fan’s question on the matter:
Rafa Benitez to Celtic? There was interest in him but not an option today
He's going to rest for a bit, despite offers (from Germany, also a national side…)
By the way, about Celtic: there is a false document doing the rounds (check the phone number 😂) https://t.co/X40LCU1riq
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) January 24, 2021
Guillem Balague seldom wrong; Celtic change will have to wait
So there we have it. This is a source that, when it comes to the Spanish football scene, certainly knows what he’s talking about.
That Benitez has offers from Germany and a national team also isn’t a surprise. He’ll be highly in-demand, and the thought of Celtic just being able to waltz in and pluck him was never realistic.
However, that doesn’t mean that something can’t be done further down the line. There’s no definitive timeline on when Benitez wants to come back into football. If he’s waiting until the end of the season for example, then that could perhaps work for the Hoops.
But the club would also have to match his ambition. Considering his achievements in the game and the jobs that will be on offer for him, Celtic needs to make itself an attractive proposition. That means substantial assurances from the board.
Perhaps that’s just me being optimistic though. Balague is likely ruling this one out for the foreseeable future. Given the sheer thirst for immediate change amongst the Celtic supporters, you would expect the club to provide some clarity on what’s happening sooner rather than later.
And it unfortunately looks as though Benitez won’t be any part of that.