Rafael Benitez rejects approach from Sampdoria


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The Independent Football

Rafael Benitez has rejected Sampdoria's attempts to persuade him to be their manager because the club's owners wanted most of the money earmarked for a three-year development plan to be spent in the future.

Despite having his family settled on Merseyside, Benitez was prepared to take the job with the newly-promoted Serie A club, with the personal terms on offer not a sticking point and the club a robust and well organised one, to his mind.

But the club's wealthy owner Riccardo Garrone wanted the investment he said would accompany a new attempt to re-establish the club in Italy's top flight to come in the second year, while Benitez was aware that the Genoese side could struggle if the squad was not enhanced immediately.

A sum of around £30-40m is needed is Sampdoria's return is to be a successful one, 18 months after the sale of Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini and their replacement with Massimo Maccarone and Manchester United loanee Federico Macheda contributed to relegation to Serie B.

It appears that Garrone, a former oil industry mogul, was looking to spend about £10-15m now, with a further £20-25m in the second year.

That would have meant Benitez, who first met the Italians in London last week, taking a personal gamble on a return to the country he left after parting company with Internazionale in December 2010.

Benitez, The Independent's Euro 2012 columnist, is looking for a return to management and viewed Sampdoria, who were playing in the Champions League qualifying round only two years ago, as a club he could have restored to a top four position in Italy, given the resources.

The position was one of serious interest to him and the way Sampdoria pushed the former Liverpool manager to join them initially raised the prospect that they would invest at the start of their development period.

Though a section of Sampdoria fans believe that Garrone should stick with incumbent coach Giuseppe Iachini, who took charge in November with the club floundering in the Serie B mid table, turned things around and led the team back into Serie A via the playoffs, sources in Italy suggest he will look elsewhere now.

Marseilles' Didier Deschamps - who had his club's fans on his back during a difficult last season - might be a contender.

Gian Piero Gasparini - installed at Inter as successor to Leonardo, the man who followed Benitez there, seems a more likely candidate.

Delio Rossi, last at Fiorentina is another possible contender.