‘The Premier League is his big target’ - Football pundit responds to manager’s Celtic link

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Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has played down talk linking Rafa Benitez with the Celtic job, insisting that his compatriot’s priority is to remain at Newcastle.

In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, the Barcelona-born pundit responded to a question asking if Benitez would be interested in the Celtic role by suggesting that the former Liverpool and Napoli boss was not looking to leave the English Premier League - even if he was forced out of St James’ Park.

A general view of Celtic Park. Picture: Getty Images

A general view of Celtic Park. Picture: Getty Images

Balague said: “The priority is to stay at Newcastle. The kind of offers he [gets], which are like €10 million net a year, come from Saudi Arabia and China, which I don’t think are the places he should go next.

“The battle is to stay at Newcastle, if he gets enough support.

“If he doesn’t stay at Newcastle I think the Premier League will be the competition he would like to stay in. I think that will be the target.

“Another matter is which club will actually go for him. I don’t believe there’s been offers yet in that department.

“But that’s where it all stands – he wants to stay in the Premier League. The Premier League is his big target.”

Last month, Benitez’s odds on taking over at Parkhead were slashed, going from 20/1 to 5/1 in just 24 hours following a flurry of bets on the move.

However, it looks as though the 59-year-old is unlikely to make the move north of the Border, if Balague’s comments are anything to go by.

Belgium national team boss Roberto Martinez has also been linked with the role, along with David Moyes, Andre Villas-Boas and Marco Rose.

• READ MORE - Which high-profile manager linked with Celtic would be the best fit?