Leeds United‘s attempt to find a new manager has been a frustrating process, but one name who has been mentioned might make fans wish the search would go on for another while yet…
When was Benitez linked to Leeds?
Given the Whites’ numerous setbacks in the pursuit of a replacement for Jesse Marsch, it feels like they are becoming desperate in their search.
In a report from earlier in the week, following Andoni Iraola’s rejection of the job, it was claimed that Andrea Radrizzani would be open to the possibility of appointing Rafael Benitez should they continue to miss out on top targets such as Carlos Corberan.
Having disappointed with Everton and dragged them towards a relegation scrap last season, there is little to suggest that it would not be a similar story should the 62-year-old take the Elland Road hot seat.
Would Benitez relegate Leeds?
Before his dismissal from Goodison Park 13 months ago, it cannot be denied that the Toffees’ trajectory suggested that relegation was in view.
After a solid start to his reign with 13 points from a possible 15, Benitez had taken his side on a run of just one league win in four months and deservedly saw his P45 handed to him in January 2022. Had they not enjoyed such a strong early-season run, relegation would have been almost certain.
It was a mind-boggling appointment for Everton in the first place to hire a former Liverpool manager whose best days were likely behind him.
The 62-year-old’s last major trophy had come in 2014, and his most recent job before joining the Toffees was a failed spell in China.
Time has caught up with the Spaniard, whose archaic playing style was quickly found out. His Everton team was not solid at the back, with 47 goals conceded in 22 matches under his watch, and often offered absolutely nothing in attack.
He averaged just 1.14 points per match at Goodison Park, a figure which even Marsch surpassed during his much-maligned time in Yorkshire. This poor form, partnered with the toxicity that Benitez can bring to a club, makes him one of the worst possible candidates for a Leeds team craving unity amid their fight against relegation.
Jamie Redknapp put it best when he claimed towards the end of the 62-year-old’s stint at Everton: “Rafa has a habit of causing chaos at clubs. He’s a politician, always blaming someone else, getting this person against that person. He creates an atmosphere with the crowd against the board everywhere he goes. I am convinced he’s doing it again now.”
Benitez crippled the Merseyside outfit, creating what pundit Jamie O’Hara described as a “rotten” core. He cannot be allowed to do so again at Leeds, as his prospective appointment could spell relegation for the Whites, with potential echoes of how he took over Newcastle at a similar juncture seven years ago and was unable to spare them from the drop.
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