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Report: Rafa Benitez favorite to manage Manchester City next year

Reports in England indicate that should Manuel Pellegrini be sacked, Rafa Benitez is the man on top of the list to replace him.

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Speculation is only going to mount as to what Rafa Benitez does next season, and now as the manager's carousel starts to spin up, he's going to be a very popular name over the next couple of months. The Spaniard's contract is up at the end of the season and he has so far refused to sign a new one, only ever vaguely stating that we'll learn more about his future some time in April.

After some speculation that Rafa could be an ideal short-term solution for Manchester City, there's now a report in England that City feels much the same way. The report goes so far as to name Rafa the favorite to take over in Manchester should current boss Manuel Pellegrini be fired, which looks more and more likely as rivals Chelsea pull closer to securing the Premier League title.

While Manchester City would rather have the likes of Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti, or Diego Simeone in charge, none of those coaches are out of contract this summer or seem likely to leave their posts quite yet. Rafa would be a very adequate bridge of sorts to keep City playing at a high level while they wait the year needed to be able to get their hands on those higher-profile men.

The move would make sense for Rafa, letting him be relatively close to his family in Liverpool and giving him the chance to manage an elite team in England again. If he succeeds with City before being replaced by one of their preferred managers, it would also position Rafa well to potentially take over the Spain national job or another higher-profile gig once the manager's carousel spins again next year. In fact, you could easily argue that in a lot of ways, a move to Manchester City would make more sense for Benitez than the Paris Saint-Germain rumors that have been frequently mooted of late.

Either way, it's becoming increasingly clear that Rafa Benitez will not be managing Napoli next season. Hopefully the club's next manager will bring the same quality with less inconsistency.