*The Marbella hotel
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his squad headed to southern Spain this week for a mid-season break and warm-weather training.
They were due to stay at the Westin La Quinta Golf Resort and Spa in Benahavis. However, when officials learned that Benitez and Dalian Yifang had been guests days earlier, they searched for a new venue.
As a result, a switch to the Kempinski, in nearby Estepona, was arranged and United are staying at the five-star beachfront property instead.
The move comes after United decided to leave Odion Ighalo — who has joined on loan from Shanghai Shenhua — at home.
They feared that the outbreak of the virus could result in the former Watford man being refused entry back into the UK.
‘He might have liked to come with the players and got to know them,’ Solskjaer said. ‘But we don’t want to take the risk (of border restrictions tightening).’
United had originally been due to head to the Aspire Academy in Qatar. They switched to Marbella after tensions in the Middle East flared following the assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US airstrike last month.
On Monday, the UK government declared coronavirus a ‘serious and imminent threat’ to public health. There have been more than 40,000 cases globally, with 908 deaths recorded in China.
A series of sports events have been cancelled and on Wednesday the Chinese Grand Prix became the latest to be called off.
Benitez took over at Dalian Yifang last year, after leaving Newcastle.
- The Chinese Super League season was due to start later this month, but has been postponed indefinitely because of the virus.
United declined to comment, other than to point out they always look to choose the best option for training venues in terms of location, facilities and security.
The travelling party is due to return on Friday, before Monday night’s Premier League trip to Chelsea. A spokesperson for Marriott, owners of the Westin La Quinta, said: ‘We do not comment on the specifics of any guests or groups with whom we do business.’