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Reports conflict as to how safe Rafa Benitez is at Napoli

Over the last day, there's been several conflicting reports as to how safe Rafa Benitez is when it comes to avoiding getting fired.

Giuseppe Bellini

There's a lot of confusion as to what's going on with Napoli right now. There have been fingers pointed all over the place trying to blame different people and causes for the club's failures this season, with players, coaches, and other staff all getting lambasted at one time or another.

In all this chaos, there's been several conflicting reports as to the safety and security of Rafa Benitez as manager of Napoli. Earlier this week, it was reported that he was safe from getting fired for the time being, but now perhaps after the Palermo draw, the end of "for now" is drawing near. La Gazzetta is claiming that unless Napoli show significant improvement over their next two matches against Sassuolo and Torino, Aurelio De Laurentiis will fire Rafa and hire Roberto Mancini to replace him.

That's where the confusion starts. There were reports around the Udinese match that De Laurentiis had approached Mancini before the Sparta Prague match about potentially replacing Benitez, but Mancini himself refuted those claims earlier this week, claiming that no one from Napoli has talked to him about becoming their manager. Then there's reports from other corners of Italy that De Laurentiis wants Francesco Guidolin to take over, or that he wants Edy Reja after the season.

Further gumming up the works is a report from Gianluca Di Marzio, who proved over and over again during the summer transfer window that he's very well-connected within Italy's clubs. Di Marzio claims that Napoli haven't looked in to making a change at manager yet. He does couch his statement by saying that "the future of any manager depends on his results," but that throws a significant pale over the other, more reactionary, reports that have been swirling around.

There is one thing that the Gazetta report nails, though: these next two league matches are absolutely and completely vital to this season. If Napoli don't get all six points, they will have dug themselves a massive hole that will be difficult to climb out of. If that happens, looking at making a change of managers will look a lot more reasonable than it does today.