It came down to just two hours.
That's according to quotes carried in the Daily Telegraph among others - and momentum at the time did seem to surge towards a Rafa appointment at Upton Park.
Real Madrid spoiled the party, of course, swooping in at the last minute to name the Spaniard as their own manager. Or did they only end up spoiling their own season?
West Ham are now thriving under Slaven Bilic, a former defender with an existing link with the Hammers, and Benitez has been sacked.
The Spaniard's departure seemed an inevitability from day one. A manager known for being cold with players was hired to lead a squad full of big egos. A manager known for favouring discipline and defensive organisation was hired to lead a club that required exciting, attacking football...
Ultimately, if Benitez wanted a good career move, he should have gone to West Ham. But then he wouldn't have been able to say the words 'I've managed Real Madrid.' Now, he can also say the words 'I've been sacked by Real Madrid' - and West Ham supporters have had plenty to say about his sacking on Twitter:
Bet Benitez wishes he took the West Ham job now.... #WHUFC— Sam Heron (@samburgundy) January 4, 2016
Looks like we dodged TWO bullets in the summer. Benitez and Klopp. #COYI— WestHamWorld.co.uk (@WestHamWorld) January 4, 2016
I wonder if Rafa Benitez regrets turning down the West Ham job? #COYI— Jonathan Steeden (@jsteeden) January 4, 2016
Has Benitez been sacked? Tell him there's a job at West Ham if he wants it Bilic needs someone to run his suits to the dry cleaners— lee hoskyn (@hosks76) January 4, 2016