Jason Cundy explained that West Ham should avoid hiring former Premier League manager Rafa Benitez if they do end up parting company with Manuel Pellegrini.
The former Chelsea defender shared that he thought Benitez was a really good manager but implied that any manager who takes a job in China, like the Spaniard did, effectively has hung up their manager’s jacket.
“He is a damn good manager, a really good manager, but I’m not convinced that…it feels like West Ham are going down a similar route to what they did with Pellegrini,” said Cundy on talkSPORT (16:12, Tuesday, November 19th).
“Pellegrini went out to China to grass, got paid huge sums of money, I won’t criticize him for that but it does feel like you’re going out there to hang up your manager’s jacket.”
The Mirror reported on Monday that the Hammers will turn to Benitez, who is currently earning £12million-a-year as manager of Chinese club Dalian Yifeng if they sack Pellegrini.
Cundy is rather harsh on Benitez as just because he went to China, doesn’t mean he lacks ambitions or is after an easy life. The Mirror’s report states that Benitez would be open to returning to the Premier League so you have to assume he only took over Dalian Yifeng due to not wanting to be out of work too long following leaving Newcastle United, so didn’t opt to stick around in England to wait for a job to open up. Also while Pellegrini isn’t excelling currently, the Hammers haven’t won any of their last six league games, he joined the London club after leaving Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune, and it’s only recently his reign has turned sour. Pellegrini has shown nothing but ambition for the Hammers upon arriving, he previously spoke about breaking into the Premier League top-six (Source: Official West Ham website), so it’s not like he arrived with his slippers already on and it would be the same for Benitez. So just because he has managed in China, the Hammers shouldn’t steer clear, they should judge him on merit.