Newcastle fans have gone into panic stations on social media after it was reported that Premier League rivals West Ham are looking to make a move for manager Rafael Benitez this summer.
Sky Sports claim on their official Twitter account, as well as their official website, that the Irons, who let David Moyes depart earlier this week after his short-term contract came to an end, are eyeing up the Spanish boss as their number one target, with a £6million release clause included in his current terms at Newcastle.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 16, 2018
Moyes left his post with the Hammers after having replaced Slaven Bilic earlier in the campaign, and after a shaky time at the helm managed to guide the east London club to safety.
Benitez meanwhile was heralded for his work with the Magpies, taking the newly promoted side, who scraped their way to the Championship title, and helping them finish 10th, securing an impressive 3-0 win over Chelsea on the final day of the season.
A firm favourite on Tyneside, the report of Benitez’s potential exit has got the Toon Army up in arms, with many fearing that West Ham may be able to give him the financial backing he deserves, while also pointing the finger of blame solely at Newcastle owner Mike Ashley if the Spaniard does leave.
Here, Football Insider has rounded up a selection of the supporters’ best tweets:
People saying he wont go, why wont he? He has a lot of resepect for their owner… He wanted Javier Hernandez at newcastle… He nearly joined them before joining Madrid…
— ToonBliss (@ToonBliss) May 17, 2018
For your sake Mike Ashley, I really hope you tie down Mr Benitez to a longer contract. Just a heads up, don't let him go to West Ham if you like it when Newcastle fans despise you reasonably quietly. They will protest if you don't give him a big kitty, imagine if he leaves! #NUFC
— Positively Toon (@PositivelyToon) May 17, 2018
The thing that worry’s me more about Benitez is not West Ham apparently coming in for him it’s the fact that Ashley has mugged him off time and time again which is why we are here now. It could all be sorted today IF Ashley just gives him what he wants #nufc
— Rob Nicholson (@rob_nicka) May 17, 2018
The only reason Rafa would leave us for West Ham is if their owners proved they have more ambition than ours. If that happens there is only one man to blame and it isn't Rafa Benitez!! #nufc
— Toonarmist (@NUFC_Scotty) May 17, 2018
Rafa leaves the toon for west ham and then signs lascelles and shelvey for them. That there is a nightmare i would not want to come true lol I think he will stay but that thought tho!
— Robert lewis (@Robertlewis1982) May 17, 2018
If he leaves he leaves. We know the reason why…..
— NUFC 1892 (@NUFCfanatic1892) May 17, 2018
Jokers pal,we will have to put up with this as long as Ashley doesn’t fully back rafa. 95% of clubs would love to have rafa we do only one person can mess that up imo
— NUFC Belfast (@BelfastNUFC) May 16, 2018
In other Newcastle United news, one senior figure’s future is in serious doubt as his close ally is on the verge of walking away.