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Mike Ashley engages Pini Zahavi to appoint Rafa Benitez replacement – L’Equipe

2 months ago
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Pini Zahavi has been taken on by Newcastle United to find them a new manager for next season, according to reports from France.

L’Equipe say Mike Ashley has engaged the ‘Super Agent’ to identify a replacement for Rafa Benitez.

The newspaper reporting that this was decided some months ago, suggesting the Newcastle United has had no real interest in convincing the much decorated manager to stay.

As always with anything to do with the owner, especially in regard to Rafa Benitez, we are left hoping for the best but fearing the worst. Like the Newcastle supporters, Rafa wants to see much-needed investment across the club (Academy, the state of the art training complex Ashley promised in 2013 and so on), not just the essential spending required on the first team squad.

After 12 years of Mike Ashley it would be a massive surprise to suddenly see him allowing proper investment in the club’s future, even more so when this is now being seen as a battle of wills between the owner and manager. Ashley often more intent on ‘winning’ these kind of battle of wills, rather than doing  what is best for the football club.

L’Equipe report that it is Bruno Genesio that Pini Zahavi has put to Mike Ashley as first choice replacement if/when Rafa Benitez leaves.

Genesio recently became a client of Zahavi’s and his own contract is set to end this summer as well.

The French newspaper claim that Genesio’s preference is to stay with Lyon but he may have no choice in the matter.

President Jean-Michel Aulas may replace the manager regardless but certainly if Lyon don’t qualify for the Champions League, the odds are very much that he will not get another contract.

The report says that Pini Zahavi has told Bruno Genesio that Mike Ashley wants to bring him to England this summer but the Ligue 1 manager is waiting to see what the end result is at Lyon.

In France, the top two go into the Champions League group stage and the third into the third qualifying round. Lyon have little hope of catching second placed Lille who are seven points ahead, whilst Marseille are three points adrift of third placed Lyon, it looks between the top of them for the final CL spot.

Genesio took over in December 2015 and you can see why he could be the type of manager who could appeal to Mike Ashley.

Heading for probably third this season, it would follow finishes of fourth and third in his two full seasons so far.

However, it will be Lyon’s transfer spending that will particularly make Mike Ashley’s eyes light up.

In these three seasons under Genesio, Lyon have banked £213m (all figures via Transefrmarkt) when selling a lot of their best players, such as Lacazette Tolisso and Diaz, with only £119m allowed to be spent, a profit on deals of almost £100m, as well as those top four finishes each season.

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