Bruno Genesio has confirmed that a deal that would have made him Rafa Benitez’s successor at Newcastle United fell through in the summer.
The 53-year-old Frenchman left Ligue 1 side Lyon at the end of last season and there were reports that Newcastle wanted him to replace Benitez, who failed to agree a new contract at St James’ Park.
French newspaper Le Progres claimed in July that Genesio had even arrived on Tyneside ahead of signing a four-year deal with the Magpies, only for Mike Ashley to instead opt for Steve Bruce as the ex-Lyon boss head to China to take charge of Beijing Guoan.
“Everything went really quickly because I was meant to sign with Newcastle, but the sale then fell through,” Genesio told beIN SPORTS, as shown via their official French Twitter account on Monday.
“I then decided to take some time off for myself, but towards the end of July, I received a phone call from my agents with an opportunity to go manage in China at Beijing Guoan.
“It just all went quickly. Forty-eight hours later I was on a plane, and four days later I was on the touchline for my first game.”
Based on how poorly Newcastle have started the season, it’s likely that most of the club’s supporters would have rather Ashley hired Genesio rather than hiring Bruce as Benitez’s successor. Bruce’s appointment was widely criticised at the time and after Sunday’s 5-0 defeat at Leicester, the manager’s popularity among the Toon Army is at an all-time low following his decision to change his tactics for that game. Yes, Newcastle have spent a lot of money since Bruce replaced Benitez, but the squad does not seem to be that much better than it was for the popular Spaniard. Newcastle have only beaten Tottenham this season. While that is an impressive feat, it is starting to look more and more like ‘one of those games’ rather than it being any kind of assessment about how Newcastle are really performing under Bruce. Genesio isn’t as widely known in England as the former Aston Villa, Birmingham, Hull and Sunderland boss, but he may have been a better bet.