RAFA BENITEZ reportedly turned down the Bournemouth job after quitting China for family reasons.
The Mail claims Benitez, 60, was approached by the Cherries this month after they sacked Jason Tindall.
Rafa Benitez turned down Bournemouth after quitting ChinaCredit: Reuters
The Spaniard was available having just quit Super League side Dalian Pro to be with his England-based family.
Benitez is no stranger to a brutal Championship season, having guided Newcastle to the title in 2017.
But the former Liverpool and Chelsea gaffer turned down Bournemouth’s offer, claiming he did not want to make an immediate return to the dugout.
The Cherries have since made interim boss Jonathan Woodgate their manager until the end of the season.
But Benitez continues to be linked with posts elsewhere.
Reports in January claimed he is wanted by Celtic, who saw Neil Lennon resign from his position this week.
Benitez has also been linked with a return to Napoli, who are running out of patience with Gennaro Gattuso.
However, Benitez is believed to favour a Premier League return – but that does not include former side Newcastle, who are still fighting for survival under Steve Bruce.
Reflecting on his decision to leave China last month, Benitez explained: “Unfortunately, like so many things in the last year, Covid-19 has changed our lives and our projects.
“From today, both my coaching staff and I will sadly no longer be coaching the Dalian Professional F.C.
“It has been an incredible experience and for this I would like to thank all my staff, coaches, medical and club staff as well as our players.
“Their commitment to us in the first place, their support during the time we were there, and their effort has been magnificent.
“The pandemic is still here, for all of us, and supporting our families has been a priority when making this decision.”