When Napoli were riding high recently, it was widely believed that Rafa Benítez was about to sign a new contract. Aurelio De Laurentiis had offered a four year deal, and the Spaniard wanted to assure a Champions League place next season before signing it.
Obviously that hasn't worked out too well.
Napoli's form is sinking without a trace, and now with Napoli's miserable Europa League semifinal performance, the Corriere dello Sport is reporting that Benitez will be leaving the club when his contract expires as the end of the season. Now obviously we've heard this before and it's never been confirmed, but this time there seems to be a more legitimate edge to the words being said.
Between Rafa's upset over his suspension and Italian football, his frustration over the Europa failure, and his mediocre at best relationship with Aurelio De Laurentiis, there's no reason to think he'd want to stay in Italy. With opportunities in England and Spain, why would Rafa want to stay in a place that he doesn't want to be? Sure, Rafa likes Naples, but that's not enough for a manager who doesn't seem to like the nation's footballing style or much get along with the man who signs his paychecks to make him want to stay.
So how then does Napoli move on? The Corriere report insists that Napoli have some sort of agreement in place with Siniša Mihajlović to bring Sampdoria's manager to Naples. Again, we've heard that one before without confirmation, but Massimo Ferrero has been awfully touchy about Mihajlović in the press lately, even going so far as to say that he was "tired" of Mihajlović seeming reluctant and unsure about his future with the club.
This is shaping up to be a heck of a big summer for Napoli. Hopefully it winds up being big in a good way, but right now things are so up in the air it's impossible to know for sure.