Rafa Benitez has ruled out an imminent return to the Premier League, insisting he is happy coaching in China. Photo: Reuters

Rafa Benitez has ruled out an imminent return to the Premier League, insisting he is happy coaching in China.

The Spaniard took charge of Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang in July after leaving Newcastle at the end of last season.

There are vacant jobs in the English top flight at Arsenal and Everton but the 59-year-old said there are no plans to cut short his time in Asia, where he is contracted until the end of 2021 on a deal worth £12million a year.

He told Sky Sports: ‘Obviously in the future I would like to come back to the Premier League because I like the league but I must be clear, there is no chance I come back now.

‘Dalian trust me and we have a lot of staff. The league is different, another level, but there is a massive company, Wanda, behind Dalian and they want to change.

‘We want to leave a legacy and it is a challenge for me, it is a great challenge, and at the moment it is a no to a return to the Premier League.’

Benitez also revealed how he was close to becoming manager of West Ham in the summer of 2015 before he was approached by Real Madrid.

Slaven Bilic took the West Ham job and Benitez said that it could have been his had Real not been such an attractive prospect.

He added: ‘It was in the past. It’s true I was nearly there, then Real Madrid came. Obviously I couldn’t say no to Real Madrid. It was a good time and it is a massive club.’

© Daily Mail