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Reported Mike Ashley target Gennaro Gattuso quits by ‘Mutual Agreement’

2 years ago
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Whilst Mike Ashley potentially selling the club has taken all the headlines…

Newcastle United are still yet to confirm a manager for next season.

As it stands, we are 32 days away from Rafa Benitez’ current contract coming to an end and 34 days away from the Newcastle united squad coming  back to start pre-season preparations.

Whilst Rafa is still the only name on the lips of the fans, the closing stages of the season saw a number of claims that Mike Ashley was using agents to sound out potential replacements if there is no contract extension agreed.

In France, L’Equipe reported/claimed that super agent Pini Zahavi had been employed by Ashley to sound out potential candidates and that the Lyon boss Bruno Genesio had been allegedly proposed by Zahavi to the NUFC owner.

Genesio’s future was said to be uncertain and indeed this past week has seen him become a free agent after Lyon replaced him with Sylvinho.

This has been quickly followed by another supposed potential Rafa Benitez replacement becoming available.

At the end of April, Gazzetta dello Sport reported (see below)  that Gennaro Gattuso recently met up with super agent Jorge Mendes for dinner in Milan and at that meeting, they claimed that Mendes brought up the idea of whether the AC Milan manager would be interested in the Newcastle job if Rafa Benitez does indeed leave.

Gattuso’s future was said to depend on whether AC Milan qualified for the Champions League and on Sunday the Italian league season ended. AC Milan won their final four games but rivals Atalanta won six and had one draw (away at champions Juventus) in their final seven matches, meaning AC Milan ended up fifth, one point behind city rivals Inter and also Atalanta.

The upshot of this is that now BBC Sport have confirmed (see below) that Gennaro Gattuso has also become a free agent, having left AC Milan by mutual agreement.

Until there is a new Rafa Benitez contract announced at Newcastle, speculation is guaranteed to continue as to who will be managing Newcastle United next season. As indeed the speculation will continue as to who will own the club.

Dubai based journalist Ben Jacobs said on Tuesday that he had been told by Bin Zayed Group sources that the plan to buy Newcastle United was still very much going ahead but that they didn’t expect a takeover to be completed until July at the earliest, beyond the date (30 June) when Rafa’s current contract ends. He also added that the Bin Zayed Group sources had indicated that they would be happy to continue with Rafa Benitez as manager but that his presence wasn’t essential to their takeover.

With no signings made so far and no clarity on who will manage or indeed own the club come August, fair to say that at the moment this isn’t looking an ideal summer of early planning for the next campaign.

BBC Sport report:

Head coach Gennaro Gattuso has left AC Milan by “mutual agreement” after the Serie A club missed out on Champions League qualification.

The 41-year-old former midfielder, who played 468 matches for the club, had two years left on his contract.

“AC Milan wishes to thank Gennaro Gattuso for his leadership during the last 18 months,” said a club statement.

They finished fifth in the table, missing out on a place in next season’s Champions League by one point.

“I have had the privilege to get to know Rino Gattuso over the past six months since my arrival at the club,” said AC Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

“Rino has given everything to our efforts this season, and has worked tirelessly, always taking full responsibility, putting the club above every other consideration.

“I want to say from the bottom of our hearts, thank you Rino.”

AC Milan, seven-time champions of Europe, have not played in the Champions League since 2013-14.

The Mag – 23 April 2019:

Gennaro Gattuso could be a potential replacement if Rafa Benitez leaves this summer.

With less than three weeks until the end of the season, there is still no visible progress with regard to an extension being agreed between the Spaniard and Mike Ashley.

Now the Gazzetta dello Sport have reported that Gennaro Gattuso could be a candidate to take the Newcastle job if there was a vacancy.

AC Milan playing legend Gattuso is currently managing the club but despite being only 16 months into the job, the Italian newspaper says it is not going smoothly.

Another former AC Milan player Leonardo, is the club’s Director of Football and the two have a fractious relationship according to the newspaper.

The fourth Champions League spot looks a straight fight between AC Milan and Atalanta as they are level on points with five games to go, failure to qualify seen as possibly a tipping point in terms of Gennaro Gattuso trying his luck elsewhere.

Gazzetta dello Sport report that Gattuso recently met up with super agent Jorge Mendes for dinner in Milan and at that meeting, Mendes brought up the idea of whether the AC Milan manager would be interested in the Newcastle job if Rafa Benitez does indeed leave.

Whilst media stories of managers moving need to be taken on the same level as signing player, with healthy scepticism, it is interesting that this is a second newspaper story intimating that Mike Ashley could be using agents to sound out possible replacements if/when Rafa leaves.

In recent weeks we saw claims  that Mike Ashley had asked super agent Pini Zahavi to sound out potential candidates and that current Lyon boss Bruno Genesio had been allegedly proposed by Zahavi to the NUFC owner.

The past 48 hours have also seen France Football claim that Newcastle United have shown interest in Jurgen Klinsmann as well, although they also said a more likely destination for the German was Hertha Berlin, where his son is a young up and coming goalkeeper.

Whilst it is intriguing to see Newcastle United linked with these high profile names, the fans just hope that the common sense approach is taken for once by Mike Ashley and he doesn’t overlook the top class manager who fortuitously fell into his lap back in 2016.

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