Rafa Benitez insists he has ‘incredible project’ at Dalian Yifang after leaving Newcastle United

2 Jul

Rafa Benitez insists he has found an ‘incredible project’ at Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang.

The Spaniard ended his three-year spell at Newcastle, having been unable to reach an agreement over a new contract.

Rafa Benitez will be hugely missed by Newcastle fans
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The former Liverpool boss signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Dalian Yifang on Tuesday and will earn a £12million annual salary.

Benitez said: “This club has all the components that we were looking for to start a new chapter with the maximum motivation.

“Among the directors of the club I have found people who value my track record, such as the chairman of the Wanda Group, Mr. Wang, who is keen to grow this club as much as possible, develop a tremendous project and support this growth with all the necessary resources.

Rafa Benitez never appeared to see eye-to-eye with Mike Ashley
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“We share the same ambition of developing a great project here and leave a legacy in Dalian.”

In a statement released on social media on Monday, Benitez claimed Newcastle chiefs failed to share the same vision as him.

And the 59-year-old played down claims suggesting he has moved to China for a big pay day.

Benitez added: “I have had offers of greater financial significance during my career, but they weren’t the project I was looking for.

“What I have found at Dalian is an incredible project that has arrived at the perfect time and this has been a major factor in my decision.

“We’ve accepted the challenge of leading a superb project with the full backing and confidence of the club’s leadership team.”

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez ‘considering’ £12m-a-year offer to manage in Chinese Super League

18 Jun

Rafael Benitez is ‘considering’ quitting Newcastle United to manage in the Chinese Super League, according to reports.

The Spaniard has reportedly been offered £12m-a-year to manage Dalian Yifang in the Far East.

Rafael Benitez could well be heading to China after contract talks stalled
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And Sky Sports are now reporting that Benitez is taking their proposal seriously.

The 59-year-old is out of contract at the end of June and has been linked with a return to Chelsea to succeed Juventus-bound Maurizio Sarri.

Magpies owner Mike Ashley has offered Benitez a deal to ward off interest from the Blues, but a deal looks less and less likely of being completed.

As a result, the former Liverpool manager is expected to leave the North-East after three years in charge. And it now seems as though China will be his next destination.

Although Newcastle were relegated when Benitez first took charge, he lead them to automatic promotion in his first attempt, before 10th and 13th placed finishes in the Premier League.

Dalian have won only three of their 13 league games so far this season under South Korean coach Choi Kang-hee.

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez ‘offered £12m-a-year’ to join Chinese club Dalian Yifang 

18 Jun

Rafa Benitez has reportedly been offered a £12million-a-year deal to become Chinese club Dalian Yifang’s new manager.

The Newcastle boss is yet to agree a new contract with Magpies owner Mike Ashley, with his just over three-year spell at St James’ Park due to end when his existing deal expires on June 30.

Rafa Benitez is hugely popular with Newcastle fans
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And The Times say Dalian Yifang have offered him a lucrative escape route to the Chinese Super League.

They currently sit 11th in the 2019 CSL table having won just three of their 13 matches under manager Choi Kang-hee, who replaced Bernd Schuster as boss in February.

Dalian Yifang’s squad includes foreign players Yannick Carrasco, the Belgium winger, and midfielder Marek Hamsik, the Napoli legend.

Ashley is desperate to sell Newcastle and recent reports have claimed he has agreed a £350million deal with Dubai-based billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan.

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A takeover has not been completed, however, with Benitez’s future still up in the air.

But the 59-year-old had appeared confident of signing a new Newcastle contract last month.

He said: “I was talking with [managing director] Lee Charnley this week and we will let you know as soon as we have more news.

“At the moment, it’s just we have had another talk and we’ll continue talking.”

Asked if the talks had been positive, he replied: “Yes. I can say yes, it seems that things are at least moving forward, and we will see if something is right at the end.

“I know the fans are supporting me and the fans are trying to convince me to stay and they try to go for the emotional way, like they did the first year.

“I know that and I appreciate that. I am really pleased with that because I am happy in the city, I am happy here and as I have said before, the staff, everybody is doing a very good job and we are very comfortable here.”

Arsenal transfer news: Unai Emery ‘close’ to making Yannick Carrasco his first summer signing from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang

8 Jun

Arsenal are in ‘advanced talks’ to sign Yannick Carrasco from the Chinese Super League, according to reports.

The Belgium international shocked plenty of supporters last year when, despite playing regularly for Atletico Madrid, he moved to Dalian Yifang.

Yannick Carrasco was one of the hottest talents in Europe at Atletico Madrid
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At just 25, the move came as a surprise to many, and fans are even less shocked that the winger no longer wants to ply his trade in the Far East.

And according to Gazetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Shira, Arsenal could be on the verge of completing a deal for the 25-year-old, who has also been courted by Inter Milan.

The Gunners were linked with a move back in January, but Unai Emery was put off by the €30m asking price, instead moving for Denis Suarez on a loan deal.

Schira’s tweet read: “#Carrasco wants to return in Europe from Cina and go to #EPL. #Arsenal are in advanced talks to sign him from #DalianYifang.

The Belgium celebrates scoring in the 2016 Champions League final
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“He was courted by #Gunners last January, but Emery opted to sign Denis Suarez on loan, because chinese asked €30M. #transfers #AFC.”

Carrasco previously stated there was just one team interested in signing him in January but wouldn’t reveal who.

“I want to go back to Europe,” Carrasco told Sky Sports.

“One team is interested in me but I can’t say which one and in which league.

Unai Emery will have to be savvy in the transfer market
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“But hopefully my team in China can help me come back to Europe.”

Despite being close to making their first signing, Arsenal will still have the issue of having just £40m to spend in this transfer window.

Failure to qualify for the Champions League has affected the north Londoners, but Emery still feels as though the lure of playing for the Gunners is still strong.

He said: “Maybe. But we are a big team. I think Arsenal is a big name in the football world, and a lot of players want to play here.

“We are in one process and we need, in this process, to be strong. When we started this season, the idea was to get more competitive, like a team. To be closer to the other teams. And we did that.

“At the moment it’s not enough to reach our targets. But we’ll continue working in our minds.

“The transfers, I don’t know for next year. But the club is working to improve and to take all we need to go our way.”

Wilfried Zaha reportedly offered £44m for China move as Crystal Palace battle to keep star man

26 Dec

Wilfried Zaha has reportedly been offered a four-year deal with a minimum of £44m to leave Crystal Palace for Dalian Yifang.

The Chinese Super League side are targeting the Eagles’ star man and are seemingly planning to test the club’s resolve.

Zaha has scored three goals and recorded three assists so far this season

According to The Mail, a deal has been tabled which would see Zaha earn £11m-per-year after tax.

At present, the 26-year-old has a contract at Palace – agreed in August – which will keep him at the club until 2023.

It is unlikely that Roy Hodgson’s men will entertain any prospect of losing him, given his importance to the squad.

However, the package that the Ivory Coast international has been offered would see him triple his current £130k-per-week salary and become one of the world’s best-paid footballers.

Dalian Yifang have already secured a couple of big-name acquisitions in the shape of Nicolas Gaitan and Yannick Carrasco. They are managed by former Real Madrid boss Bernd Schuster.