Celtic have a real task on their hands if they are to hire Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez as their new manager, former Hoops winger Davie Provan has said.
Benitez is one of the leading contenders to take the Celtic Park job this summer amid rumours he will leave St James’ Park when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The Spaniard, who has previously managed Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid, is not getting the assurances he has asked for from Mike Ashley, the Newcastle owner, and many clubs will be looking at Benitez this summer should he depart the Magpies.
Celtic are understood to be one of those clubs, with Hoops chiefs on the lookout for a new manager to become the long-term replacement for Brendan Rodgers.
Rodgers departed Celtic Park last month to succeed Claude Puel as Leicester manager, with Neil Lennon returning to Glasgow as Rodgers’ replacement on a deal which runs until the end of the season.
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Though the Hoops remain on course to complete a remarkable treble treble – they are first in the Premiership and in the Scottish Cup final – Lennon is expected to depart the club when his contract expires, and hiring Benitez as his replacement would be a real coup for Celtic.
However, it will not be an easy task for the club, former Celtic and Scotland Provan believes.
In his Scottish Sun column, Provan writes of the Celtic job: “Bookies have taken money for Rafa Benitez, Roberto Martinez and Andre Villas-Boas.
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“The only name missing is Walter Mitty.
“Martinez and Villas-Boas quickly ruled themselves out, leaving Benitez as the last man standing.
“Frankly, Peter Lawwell (chief executive) would need chloroform to get Rafa to Glasgow.
“I’d give my right arm to see the Spaniard succeed Brendan Rodgers. No disrespect to Neil Lennon, but Benitez is in a different bracket.
“A Rafa appointment would be like throwing a fox into a hen hut.
“Benitez doesn’t defer to directors, he makes his demands and expects them to be met.”