The Spaniard, whose contract £6m-a-year contract at Newcastle United expired on Sunday, hoped to stay with the Magpies but, after talks with owner Mike Ashley, believed the hierarchy did not share his “long-term vision” for the club.
“It became increasingly clear to me that those at the top of the club did not share the same vision,” Benitez explained in a statement yesterday.
“I wanted to stay, but I didn’t just want to sign an extended contract, I wanted to be part of a project,” said Benitez in a letter to fans.
The offer to work in China is extremely lucrative although Dalian are currently struggling, laboured in 10th in the Super League, having won just four of 15 league games, while star winger Yannick Carrasco is attempted to force through a return to Europe.
Benitez’s coaching staff of Paco de Míguel Moreno, Antonio Gomez Perez and Mikel Antia have also left Newcastle and are expected to join him in China.
Mikel Arteta, Garry Monk, David Moyes and Roberto Martinez are amongst the candidates touted to replace Benitez at St James’ Park.
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