Both are bald, goatee-sporting gaffers who aren’t adverse to following a glorious period at one club with a less than celebrated one with another, but it seems that similarities between Rafa Benitez and Ian Holloway don’t end there.
It seems both have developed a distinct penchant for doing away with the vagaries of scouting in favour of simply raiding their former clubs for trusted players.
The Spaniard’s Napoli side, currently second in Serie A, are 4/1 third favourites to lift the Scudetto in 2013/14.
Lucas is one of four Liverpool players that Benitez’s Napoli have been linked with since he took over.
Much like Holloway the Spaniard seems incapable of moving on from the players that brought him his greatest ever club success.
Instead of admitting that there are plenty more goalkeepers, centre-halves and defensive midfielders in the sea he’d rather attempt to bring Pepe Reina, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and the aforemtioned Brazilian to Stadio San Paolo.
Meanwhile the Bristolian Benitez was on a curiously similar wavelength when he took over at Palace, bringing in Kevin Phillips and Elliot Grandin from Blackpool as well as well as former Holloway-era Tangerines Steven Dobbie and Barry Bannan.
Cesar Azpilicueta is the latest former squad member that the Spaniard has been linked with a swoop for.
The former Marseille full-back is understood to be in Benitez’s thoughts after impressing him in his spell at Chelsea.
After playing a big part in the Blues’ Europa League-winning campaign last term the Spanish international has seen just three Premier League starts under Jose Mourinho
Regular first-team football in Naples could prove a particularly enticing carrot to dangle before the 24-year-old, who will be keen to make an impression on Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque ahead of the World Cup in 2014.
As well as an insular approach to recruitment Rafa shares Holloway’s liking for an esoteric quote or two.
The former QPR midfielder’s liking for colourful simile is well known, but Beniteze is a language equally replete in banterific statements, just see the below relating to Stephen Gerrard’s injured neck.
“The other day, he wanted to play but he was only able to look to the right, so I told him he could play as a left winger! We’ll see if he can turn his head round and look the other way now.
The player will say he wants to play, but there’s an easy way of finding out whether he’s fit. I will come up and tap him on the left shoulder and if he turns to face me without any pain, we will know he can play.”