Valencia are poised to extend the contract of coach Rafa Benitez after their in-form start to the season in both Spanish championsip and Champions League.

Benitez and his advisers have taken advantage of the league title success last term to press for a new deal which is expected to be agreed by the club’s managing board today (Monday) as proposed by chief executive Manuel Llorente.

Benitez’s contract will be extended by two years in the sum of about 800,000 pounds. But almost more important than the money are the extended powers which Benitez will take across the entire playing sectors of the club – converting him almost into an English-style manager.

Benitez has told friends his ambition is to become “a Ferguson-type manager” at Valencia. He would be assisted by Garc¡a Pitarch, who was recently brought in as general manager in place of long-serving former Valencia player, Javier Subirats.

The prospect is that Benitez could become the first of 10 succeeding Valencia coaches – starting with Guus Hiddink in 1991-93 – to last last longer than two years in the job.
By Keir Radnedge