The one thing that could stop Celtic nabbing Rafa Benitez from Newcastle United

By David Walton

May 15, 2019

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has been strongly linked with the Celtic manager’s job, but there’s one barrier that could halt any move.

The Spaniard is currently set for crunch talks with the Newcastle owner Mike Ashley. With his contract up at the end of the season, Benitez’s future remains up in the air.

This has, excitingly, allowed Celtic to come into the mix. There have been no reports of any contact between the club and Benitez, and there could be a reason for that.

According to the Chronicle, the former Chelsea and Liverpool boss is contracted until June 30th. Until then, he can’t actually speak to any clubs without Newcastle’s permission.

Rafa Benitez’s future is still up in the air (Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

This could prove as to why Celtic haven’t actually made contact with the Spaniard. And it could also be a big hint as to why we won’t get Benitez either.

The best case scenario here would be that he leaves the club with mutual consent. Potential contract talks could easily lead to disagreements and a potential parting of the ways before then. But as it stands, the earliest Celtic could have Benitez in if they made the move would be early July.

The Chronicle has also stated that Benitez has confirmed that he’s willing to have multiple discussions about his future. So this could go on a fair bit past the end of Celtic’s season on May 25th.

Celtic would need a quick separation

But even if Benitez left Newcastle, it would ideally be before Celtic head out to their pre-season training camp to Austria and Switzerland. Celtic have two friendly matches before Benitez’s Newcastle contract is even up.

Benitez had a fine campaign back in the Premier League (Shaun Brooks/Action Plus via Getty Images)

At the moment, Celtic simply have to wait and see what happens between the Spaniard and Newcastle. That’s even if they want to appoint him this summer.

There is a glimmer of hope in the sense that Benitez is having his talks with Ashley this week. But nobody knows how long those talks could truly take

If this drags out, Celtic will need someone in quicker than they could perhaps get with Benitez.

Benitez has plenty of success to his name (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

It’s by no means a case of ruling him out. But Celtic have to be wary of the fact he can’t speak to clubs until a decision on his Newcastle future is made, or at least until June 30th.

If Celtic wanted him that badly, they could always offer a compensation package. But it’s difficult to see us going down that road.

Hopefully things are made clearer this week. But as it stands, he’s still the Newcastle manager until June 30th.