What Rafa Benitez has previously said on his Everton long-term future amid Newcastle return links

One report claims the Magpies want the Spaniard back following PCP Consortium’s takeover but his past comments suggest otherwise.

Everton boss Rafa Benitez being linked with a return to Newcastle. It was inevitable really, wasn't it?

With the PCP Consortium takeover of the Magpies now rubberstamped, a new dawn begins at St James' Park.

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Steve Bruce has been under heavy fire after a winless start to the season. Under the new ownership, it’s expected he will get the axe as manager - much to the delight of the Toon Army.

And, according to reports, Newcastle want Benitez back as Bruce’s replacement. It’s widely known that the Saudi Arabia-backed group originally planned to appoint Rafa as manager last year, if their takeover had gone through as planned.

The Spaniard was a huge fans' favourite during his three years in the north east.

He guided Newcastle back to the Premier League and kept them in the top flight under a tight budget - all the while at loggerheads with much-maligned owner Mike Ashley.

Now it's said that PCP want Benitez to oversee the exciting new era.

Rafa Benitez celebrates with the silverware after guidng Newcastle to the Championship title in 2017. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Winning over fans

Unsurprisingly, a few eyebrows have been raised among Evertonians.

Benitez only took charge of the Toffees in the summer. While he had sections of supporters against his appointment, mainly as he previously managed Liverpool, swathes of those have already been won over.

Everton have made a superb opening to the campaign, picking up 14 points from seven matches under the ex-Real Madrid chief.

As soon as Benitez took the Goodison hot seat, he's listened to fans' desires when it comes to playing style and recruitment.

He knew supporters wanted new wingers - so brought in Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend, who’ve both been scintillating.

Benitez also recognised Evertonians want to see their side battle and give 100 per cent on the pitch every game.

Everton boss Rafa Benitez with Andros Townsend. Picture: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

What’s more, he knew those in the terraces wanted to watch a fast-paced brand of football that involves whipping in crosses and flooding the box.

He’s also getting the best out of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan, wants to take players such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin to the next level and improve the likes of Alex Iwobi.

Benitez has worked tirelessly at building such a rapport and getting the blue half of Merseyside on his side.

What he’s said

Perhaps the most telling thing about Benitez’s plans was he discussed about his future only last month.

Ahead of the 3-1 victory over Burnley, he was asked about whether he'd like to imitate Clarets supremo Sean Dyche and remain Everton manage for more than 10 years.

His response was fairly clear.

Benitez said: “Why not? That means we are successful and I will be happy.

“I’m sure if I stay here 10 years it’s because the owners will be happy, so will the fans be happy and the press too.

“Normally if you stay a long time, it means you’re doing something right. If I stay for a long, long time, maybe it means we are winning trophies and will be fine for everyone.”

If Benitez can deliver a piece of silverware for the first time since 1995, he’ll etch himself into Goodison folklore.

Manager Rafa Benitez celebrates Everton’s defeat of Burnley with Abdoulaye Doucoure. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

What do the bookies think?

Benitez is unsurprisingly fairly prominent in the betting to become next Newcastle manager.

He’s 5/1 third favourite with Sky Bet but Bet Victor are 8/1 and William Hill are as big as 20/1.

Eddie Howe is a short-priced 7/4 with Paddy Power to land the job, with Antonio Conte next best at 9/2.

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