Valencia sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch has reportedly enquired into Rafa Benitez’s interest in returning as Coach next season.
Gary Neville currently sits on the Mestalla bench after replacing Nuno Santo in December but has yet to win a League game and on Wednesday Valencia were routed 7-0 by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg.
Neville insisted after the defeat that he wasn’t going to resign and AS say he’ll be in charge for the weekend’s game against Real Betis, but anything after that may depend on the result.
The former Manchester United defender is contracted until June and Garcia Pitarch, who was at Valencia in Benitez’s previous tenure, is making plans for next season.
AS note that the ideal situation would be Neville in charge for the rest of the campaign, allowing Pitarch time to plan and prepare for the summer and next year, but that may no longer be possible.
Salvador Voro, who took caretaker charge after Nuno left but before Neville was appointed, would be an option to step in should a change be made, as would Curro Torres, another former Valencia player, currently working as a coach in the youth set-up.
Pitarch has spoken to Benitez’s agent, Manuel Garcia Chiron, and the pair had dealings over Valencia’s failed attempt to take Pedro Mosquera, a Chiron client, from Deportivo La Coruna.
It’s said that Pitarch asked whether or not Benitez would be interested in returning to the club he left for Liverpool in 2004, and the nature of Benitez’s reply isn’t reported.
Pitarch is also looking at other possibilities but Benitez seems to be popular with the Valencia fans, having had a welcome reception at Mestalla when there in January with Real Madrid, his last game before he was sacked by Los Blancos.
Benitez was greeted with a banner in the stadium that thanked him for his success in his time at the club more than a decade ago.