Rafa Benitez 'wants Premier League return' despite Celtic and Napoli links but WON'T return to Newcastle under Ashley

RAFA BENITEZ is holding out for a return to the Premier League but will rule out a Newcastle reunion, according to reports.

The Spaniard had been rumoured to be taking over from under pressure Toon boss Steve Bruce after leaving Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional.

Benitez, 60, is a fan favourite at Newcastle after three successful years before leaving in 2019 over a disagreement with controversial owner Mike Ashley.

And the duo's fractious relationship is the reason why Benitez will not consider returning to the dugout.

Sky Sports also claim Benitez has had an offer from Napoli, where he spent two years in 2013.

Benitez is highly-regarded in Italy after winning the Coppa Italia in 2014 but it is claimed he is willing to assess his options.

The ex-Liverpool manager is also wanted by Celtic after a stuttering campaign under Neil Lennon.

But he will keep the Scottish giants waiting in the hope of returning to England.

Sky add that Benitez has already told close friends that his next project will be in the Prem and will wait for the opportunity.

His availability is sure to raise eyebrows among Premier League owners and could increase their willingness to make a change.

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Newcastle's plight this season hit new lows on Monday when the club gagged all newspaper journalists from questioning Bruce for the first time in 20 years.

The club are on a horror run of 10 games without a win leaving supporters protesting for the manager to receive the sack.

But it appears Ashley is still willing to give Bruce time after holding talks with Bournemouth coach Graeme Jones as he looks to bring someone in to shake up his backroom team.

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