By 90Min
October 23, 2017

During the BBC's Final Score broadcast on Saturday, pundit Garth Crooks claimed that with the right resources, Rafa Benitez might just win the Premier League title with Newcastle United.

Unsurprisingly, it was a throwaway comment that caused plenty of debate and divide between Toon fans, rivals and neutrals alike. There's simply no doubt that Benitez is a world class manager, and there's no doubt he has the potential to lift the trophy.

However, just not with Newcastle.

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He's won the league his native Spain twice with Valencia and picked up trophies in England with Liverpool and Chelsea. Although he doesn't have a Premier League winners medal (yet), he came agonisingly close to winning the league with the Merseyside outfit back in 2008/09 - setting a record for the highest points total for a non-title winner.

While Benitez obviously has the skills to succeed in England, the difference between those sides and Newcastle is that they offered the Spaniard the resources to buy, train and keep happy the world class players required to challenge for titles. Indeed, at both his previous Premier League employers he already had some of those players already at his disposal.

Liverpool and Chelsea both offered Benitez financial stability, a set aim and regular European football. On Tyneside, things are very different. When he joined the club in 2016, they were a club in disarray after the disastrous reign of Steve McClaren and he was brought in too late as they went down.

Credit where credit is due, the Magpies cruised to promotion last season and the way they have started the 2017/18 campaign so far is beyond satisfactory, considering the lack of real summer investment, and are building a solid team with capable top flight talent like Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey as the club gears up for a takeover.

However, surely a manager who has won La Liga, the Champions League, Europa League and an FA Cup is worth more than mid-table safety?

Where would he go, you may be asking?

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Well, Jurgen Klopp may want to reconsider his defence strategies. Benitez is renowned for his tactical approach, and his sides from Liverpool to Napoli thrived on tight defences, something which the current Reds vintage definitely don't offer.

Garth Crooks was right about one thing: Benitez is capable of winning the Premier League title, but he won't do it with his current employers, unless the proposed takeover brings with it the kind of wealth and investment seen at Manchester City. Even then, things take time.

At the moment, the Magpies simply don't offer that same stability and clout as his former employers, on or off the pitch. The Premier League is a very different beast to what it was in the 90's, when Kevin Keegan's Toon fought valiantly with Man Utd for the title.

Now the league is so competitive, the inability to attract the players on ever-inflating salaries and the time required to overhaul the squad, will likely never see Newcastle achieve better than mid-table in Benitez's time. 

Rafa has proven he can build squads to their maximum potential, eking the very best out of an average Liverpool team to claim the 2005 Champions League title, and gradually building them into the well-oiled machine that almost won the league in 2009.

The fantasy that he can do the same on Tyneside, remains just that with the current lack of stability. If Benitez truly has designs on reaching the very top once again and reclaiming his 'super star' manager status, his best bet is to depart Newcastle. 

At the moment, there are a number of clubs who may well welcome the Spaniard and with the right money, backing and time, success is all but guaranteed with Benitez. Whether he chooses to give up on his own Newcastle fantasy however, remains to be seen. 

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