Tuesday 20 March 2018

Q&A: How safe is Benitez?

What would it cost Liverpool to sack Rafael Benitez?

Around £20m, to buy him out of his five-year contract, though another damaging factor would be the potential loss of Fernando Torres, whose loyalty to the club is bound up in his close relationship with Benitez. It was Benitez who beat Alex Ferguson to Torres' signature by picking up the phone and asking him to sign. Benitez's departure would also mean the unpicking of the academy structure he has created.

Would sacking him improve the search for new investors?

Not necessarily. One of the main pitches to the handful of investors who are considering taking a 25pc share in the club, thus injecting £100m, is that Liverpool are in a stable position on the footballing side. That said, failure to make next season's Champions League would be a further diminution of the club's 'blue chip' status. The search for investors is reaching a significant stage, with managing director Christian Purslow revealing this week that he has "maybe a handful of serious groups who are interested in investing".

How certain are the Americans that Benitez is the man for the future?

Less so with each lurch in this terrible season. Sources suggest that Tom Hicks and George Gillett will consider this summer whether Benitez is the man for their club. Jose Mourinho is the obvious possible replacement candidate and, curiously, there is a feeling that Fabio Capello might be another if he does well with England in South Africa this summer and feels he has taken the national team as far as he can. The possibility of Kenny Dalglish assuming control in a temporary capacity cannot be ruled out if Liverpool continue to slide.

Irish Independent

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