As the 55-year-old edges ever closer to his first managerial undertaking since his ignominious expulsion from the Real Madrid hot seat in January, we now look at the candidates who may play a part in the Spaniard’s proposed staff overhaul at St. James’ Park.
Francisco de Miguel Moreno
Role: Fitness coach
The Spaniard is a long-time associate, with the pair having worked together through each of Benitez’s tenures at Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid, where he remains despite being a supporter of their cross-town rivals. However, whether he will be swayed to give up the glamour of his current job in favour of reuniting with Benitez at Newcastle is another question. If he does, he will replace current fitness and conditioning coach Alessandro Schoenmaker, who is likely to follow Maclaren through the exit door.
Role: Goalkeeping coach/Opposition analyst
Valero is a former goalkeeper who featured four times for Wrexham in 2005 during his playing career and following his retirement, has shadowed Benitez at Liverpool, Inter Milan, Napoli and Real Madrid. The 43-year-old, who is famed for his meticulous practices and credited by Fernando Torres for his goalscoring exploits at Liverpool, has been cut loose following Zidane’s appointment at Real. His expertise would certainly come in handy for Benitez in his attempt to galvanise Newcastle.
Newcastle’s chief scout Graham Carr is widely believed to be one of the casualties upon Benitez’s formal appointment at the helm and may be replaced by Campos, who has previously worked with Benitez at Liverpool and Real Madrid, where he remains. Campos, who was a one-club man loyal to Cordoba throughout his playing career, was in charge of scouting Fernando Torres at Atletico Madrid prior to his move to Anfield.