Celtic manager latest: Newcastle to lose Rafa Benitez to Parkhead?

Rafa Benitez is the new favourite for the Celtic job.
Rafa Benitez is the new favourite for the Celtic job.
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Newcastle United could lose Rafa Benitez to Celtic - or so the bookies think.

The Spaniard has shot to the front of the queue on the market to become the next permanent boss at Parkhead.

Speculation has increased since Sunday's 2-0 defeat to Rangers which has dented current interim boss Neil Lennon's hopes of being placed in full charge in the summer.

Chris Hughton is available after his sacking from Brighton & Hove Albion and another ex-Premier League manager Carlos Carvalhal has indicated his interest in taking the Celtic job.

Yet, the idea of Benitez taking over in the summer is one which would excite the Parkhead crowd, with both Paddy Power and Sky Bet believing it to be a possibility with the 59-year-old favourite at 5/4, ahead of Neil Lennon and David Moyes.

Benitez has the credentials which fans want. His former clubs include Liverpool, Real Madrid, Valencia and Chelsea. His CV speaks for itself with two La Liga tiles, a Uefa Cup, Europa League, Champions League and FA Cup among others.

His position at Newcastle is often fragile due to a difficult working relationship with club owner Mike Ashley.

He has yet to sign a new deal but plans to hold talks with Ashley in the coming weeks.