Football rumours: Rafael Benítez to return to Chelsea?

Ed Aarons on 12 June 2019

Rafael Benítez can certainly remember the good times. The warm welcome from the Stamford Bridge crowd in his first match after taking over from Roberto Di Matteo; the World Club Cup final defeat to Corinthians; and, of course, the up-yours triumph in the Europa League final against Benfica.

Six years on from his infamous spell as ‘interim’ manager, the lure of west London is calling again for Benítez as Chelsea look to act quickly to replace Juventus-bound Maurizio Sarri. The word is Roman Abramovich was so enamoured with the Spaniard’s previous spell that he is willing to give him another crack. And despite Newcastle’s attempts to tie Benítez down on a new one-year contract worth a stonking £15m, it appears the former Liverpool and Real Madrid man is game.

It’s fair to say the news hasn’t gone down well, with some fans threatening to boycott matches if he does return. But with Legend Frank Lampard also seemingly set to hold talks with the people that matter this week, maybe everything will be all right after all?

Arsenal are definitely confident it will because they have a cunning plan. It involves buying two players – that’s right, two – from the same club! Fancy that. The only snag is the Gunners have had a £43m bid for Sampdoria pair Joachim Andersen and Dennis Praet turned down and have been told they will have to stump up another £6m if they want to sign the Danish defender and Belgian midfielder. Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini is an alternative, although Tottenham could have something to say about that.

Decision time is looming for Matthijs de Ligt, with Paris Saint-Germain finally submitting their contract offer for Ajax’s giant teenager. Five years in the French capital earning squillions is being proposed, with Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United now scrabbling around behind the sofa to see if they can match the offer.

Pep Guardiola has decided City don’t need the Dutch defender because they are already very good and he may even have another sabbatical should they go on to win the Champions League next season. It is news that will “send a shiver down the spine of Daniel Levy” given that it could prompt the departure of Mauricio Pochettino.

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.

Harry Maguire is also a wanted man, with both Manchester clubs set to face off over him this summer. Leicester haven’t even bothered to put a valuation on their big-headed defender because they don’t consider him up for sale but a cool £80m might just change their minds. Meanwhile, United will return with an improved offer for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, whom Crystal Palace value at £60m. A snip if you ask The Mill. Palace have already lined up a replacement if he does go, with Norwich’s Max Aarons their preferred choice. With a name like that, the Mill is sure he will go far.

Latest football headlines

Latest Football News