Most Newcastle United fans would surely prefer to see Rafa Benitez sign a new deal and extend his stay at St James’ Park before the end of the season, but with the Spaniard’s contract situation yet to be resolved, it would be naive of the Magpies to not look at potential replacements.
One name that has been linked with the Tyneside club quite a lot is Bruno Genesio, whose deal with French giants Lyon is set to expire in the summer.
The Newcastle Chronicle has reported that the soon-to-be-available Frenchman would be interested in succeeding Benitez at St James’ if there is a change in management, and he could be the perfect man for Mike Ashley if he ends up being hired.
IS HE SPECIAL?
Genesio has done a good job at Lyon and has kept them in the top-three mix for most of his seasons despite the dominance of Ligue 1 by Paris Saint-Germain. He has led Lyon to finish second, third and fourth, and is on course for another third-placed finish this season, which is just about what can be expected in France’s top-tier. During his time in charge at Lyon, Genesio has not spent huge amounts of money but his most significant outlays were for Moussa Dembele and Memphis Depay. Both players were bought from UK-based clubs and were both quite young when he completed the deals. Newcastle owner Ashley would surely be a fan of Genesio’s approach of signing younger players who are ready for the first team, while also showing a willingness to promote players from the academy. Houssem Aouar is a product of Lyon’s academy and has been in red-hot form for the first team this season while Nabil Fekir has also gone from strength to strength under Genesio’s reign.
WHY WOULD ASHLEY LOVE HIM?
According to the Chronicle, Ashley has a “blueprint” of what he wants at Newcastle, and that is to have a young playing squad. That means that whoever is in charge must be willing to sign young players, develop young players and take advantage of the club’s academy. Other than Sean Longstaff’s emergence this season, we haven’t really seen Benitez sign or promote many youngsters, while Genesio has a great track record for it at Lyon. Turning youth into gold is something that Ashley appears to be keen on doing, and Genesio could be his man to do that.
Genesio was born in Lyon, came through the club’s academy himself and spent a whole decade as a first team player at the French club.