Such is his desperation to return to management in the Premier League at the earliest opportunity, Rafa Benitez is allegedly contemplating the offer of a three-year deal to jump aboard the sinking ship that is Newcastle United.
Widespread reports indicate that, while the Magpies haven’t yet told Steve McClaren to clear his desk, they have touched base with Benitez, indicating that any decision to dispense with their current coach hinges on the Spaniard’s answer.
With second-bottom Newcastle a long way from healthy and competing with two other teams for 17th-place sanctuary, taking the reigns represents an enormous risk for the Champions League winner, who, regardless of his obvious quality in the dugout, is far from guaranteed to keep them afloat.
The fates of Champions League/European Cup-winning tacticians who take jobs beneath their station suggest Benitez will struggle to defy odds of 1/2 that say Newcastle will be relegated this season.
Having conquered Europe in his first campaign in management at PSV, Hiddink spent the twilight years of the 20th century manning the rudders of Fenerbahce, Valencia, Real Madrid and the Netherlands.
Potentially afflicted from a millennium bug bite, Hiddink inexplicably put his elite status on the line in early 2000 to help Real Betis climb out of the La Liga relegation mire in 1999/00.
The gamble backfired and the Verderones went down as part of a prestigious triptych alongside Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. Hiddink was subsequently sacked.
Three years after steering Real Madrid to their first Champions League title in 1997/98, the German drifted into the midranges of La Liga, taking over Athletic Bilbao, where he missed out on UEFA Cup qualification by one point in two consecutive campaigns.
He left the San Mames for a gig at similarly-sized Schalke in 2003/04, missing out on his continental qualification remit once again, before being sacked at the start of the 2004/05 edition.
Louis van Gaal
Obviously, the Iron Tulip’s stint at AZ Alkmaar ended about as gloriously as anyone dared to dream, but after finishing second and third in his first two campaigns, Van Gaal almost lost his job following a shocker of a 2007/08 where his side came 11th in the Eredivisie.