Sources at Newcastle United have distanced the club from reports linking them with a move for Lyon manager Bruno Genesio, according to Chronicle journalist Lee Ryder.
The journalist claimed on the newspaper’s website that those in-the-know at St James’ Park have played down the speculation, insisting that the club’s first priority remains keeping current boss Rafael Benitez.
Respected French publication L’Equipe reported on Thursday that the Magpies had asked agent Pini Zahavi about the services of the Champions League round of 16 chief.
However, Newcastle want to give Benitez every chance to extend his contract before they make any plans regarding his replacement.
This is a very interesting situation, isn’t it? Obviously Newcastle would be foolish not to even consider what they would do if Benitez leaves in the summer, so on that basis it’s not a bad idea to sound out someone like Genesio over the potential vacancy. However, it’s good that the club’s priority remains keeping the current manager at the club. Benitez is the man for Newcastle, that goes without saying, and so it’s absolutely crucial that he remains on Tyneside. If he does decide to leave, though, Genesio would be an extremely adequate replacement. He has done a great job since becoming Lyon manager, and we saw how competitive they were in the first leg against Barcelona recently – if not the second. Ultimately it seems as if the club are working to keep Benitez happy and in charge and that is the most important thing at this moment in time.