Two London giants are in need of a leader. Champions League winner Rafael Benitez has his eye on a return

Rafael Benitez says he’d like to return to the Premier League, but not at the moment.

59-year-old Benitez is in charge of Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang, but has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs, including West Ham and Arsenal.

Speaking on Monday Night Football, the former Liverpool, Newcastle, Chelsea and Real Madrid manager said: “Obviously in the future I would like to come back to Premier League, but at the moment I must be very clear, there is no chance I will come back now.

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Round 17

Dalian Yifang boss Benitez hasn’t ruled out a Premier League return — just yet

Dalian Yifang boss Benitez hasn’t ruled out a Premier League return — just yetSource: Getty Images

“I am happy, really pleased, they trust me, we have a lot of staff working on a big project.

“We want to leave a legacy, it’s a challenge for me, and I’m learning a lot, it’s a great experience, and I’m quite happy at the moment.”

Benitez moved to China after leaving Newcastle United in the summer having led the Magpies to a Championship title in 2017 and a 13th-place finish in the Premier League last season.

He revealed on Monday evening he came close to joining West Ham in 2015 before eventually taking over at Real Madrid.

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The Spaniard said: “It was in the past, it’s true that I was nearly there (at West Ham). Then Real Madrid came, and I needed a couple of days to know exactly what was going on.

“Obviously I couldn’t say no to Real Madrid, but it was a good time and it’s a massive club.

“Everybody can see both teams (West Ham and Arsenal) have problems, but both are massive clubs and they will do well at the end.”

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There are currently two vacancies in the Premier League after Everton sacked Marco Silva last week, while Arsenal are looking for a permanent replacement for Unai Emery.

Benitez managed Liverpool from 2004 to 2010, guiding them to Champions League glory in 2005. He also led Chelsea to the Europa League title as caretaker manager in 2013.

This story originally appeared on Sky Sports and was reproduced with permission.

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