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Mike Ashley targeting Gennaro Gattuso to replace Steve Bruce – Report

4 weeks ago
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Interesting to see on Monday morning, reports of Gennaro Gattuso said to be being lined up to come in as the new Newcastle United manager.

Gattuso was moved out of Napoli in May after missing out on Champions League football when finishing fifth and has been without a club these past four months.

A deal in principle was agreed for Gennaro Gattuso to take over at Fiorentina, indeed the Serie A club announced in late May that he would start the job in July, only for disagreements to emerge between club and future manager, leading to the appointment falling through.

Moving forward to today (Monday 27 September 2021) it is the Italian media who are running the story.

With Calciomercato saying that their understanding is that Mike Ashley is considering Gennaro Gattuso as a replacement if he sacks Steve Bruce.

Despite taking over a mid-table team and receiving massive backing in the transfer market these past two years (net spend of £125m+), Steve Bruce hasn’t won any of the seven matches so far this season, with a win ratio of only 19% in the last ten months as only seven victories in the last thirty six Newcastle games.

As always with player / manager speculation you treat it with the utmost caution / scepticism but it is worth noting that in the final throes of Rafa Benitez’ contract, it was reported back in 2019 that Mike Ashley was interested in having Gennaro Gattuso as the Spaniard’s replacement.

At the end of April 2019, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Gennaro Gattuso had 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 did indeed leave.

At the time, Gattuso’s future was said to depend on whether AC Milan qualified for the Champions League and on Sunday the Italian league season ended. In the event, 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.

Gennaro Gattuso then at the end of May 2019 became a free agent, having left AC Milan by mutual agreement.

Mike Ashley was of course then reported to have been turned down by a host of managers after forcing Rafa Benitez out at the end of June 2019. Amongst those not fancying working for Mike Ashley were Steven Gerrard and Patrick Vieira amongst others.

Whether Gennaro Gattuso was also somebody to turn down Mike Ashley before we were landed with the nightmare of Steve Bruce, is an unknown. However, Gattuso remained without a club until December 2019 when he took over at Napoli after Carlo Ancelotti was sacked.

If indeed Steve Bruce is ever finally sent on his way, one thing in favour of Gennaro Gattuso is that he wouldn’t need to be bought out of his contract as was the case when Ashley bizarrely did it with Bruce. However, most Newcastle fans assume that if change was made, Mike Ashley would go with the even cheaper option of promoting Graeme Jones as caretaker boss.

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