RAFA BENITEZ is a shock target for mega rich Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.
The Spaniard, 58, is in the last year of his contract at Newcastle.
Getty Images4 Rafa Benitez is a target for mega-rich Guangzhou Evergrande
And pals have revealed he has been contacted by middle men from China as they plan for their next campaign.
Evergrande have just lost their title under Italian Fabio Cannavaro and are ready to change coach, with Benitez the first choice.
The deal could be worth up to £10million-a-year, with compensation to Newcastle not thought to be a problem.
Benitez is discussing the issue with his family and friends.
Getty Images4 Benitez's Toon deal expires next summer and he is set to be offered £10m-a-year to move to China
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He has strong ties to England and would prefer to stay. But his relationship with Toon owner Mike Ashley is strained.
A close source revealed: “This is a big job and the money is excellent. They would even pay the compensation needed to release Rafa now.
“But he has to say yes before the New Year or the opportunity will pass him by. It is a very difficult decision for him and his family.”
Another factor is that Benitez will collect a bumper bonus if he helps Newcastle stay up.