The day before Steve Bruce was officially appointed as Newcastle manager there was a surprise report from France that Bruno Genesio was going to be appointed Newcastle manager once the BZG takeover was completed. The report came from Le Progres who made the following claim on July 16th:
Bruno Genesio, who coached Olympique Lyonnais from January 2016 to May 2019, could sign up with Newcastle on a four-year contract. This club in the North of England is about to be sold to a billionaire (who comes from Dubai) having close relations with the owner of Manchester City.
The BZG claims had diminished by the time of this report as Mike Ashley had given his interview to Martin Samuel a few weeks earlier. During that interview, Ashley claimed that no takeovers were close to happening.
Steve Bruce was confirmed as Rafa Benitez’s successor the day after Le Progres made their claim. We have heard nothing about these claims until today.
Bruno Genesio– ex-Lyon manager twice linked to Newcastle this year
Sport Witness have published recent comments by Genesio that appear to confirm that he was in line to sign for Newcastle if the BZG takeover happened. Genesio was a free agent at the time of the report but has since replaced Roger Schmidt at Chinese club Beijing Guoan. These are the comments as translated in the Sport Witness report:
“Everything went really quickly, because I was meant to sign with Newcastle, but the sale then fell through. 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”.
It is surprising to hear these comments. It looks like the Bin Zayed Group had contacted the former Lyon manager about being their choice if they could finalize a takeover of Newcastle.
While Genesio doesn’t give any specific details on if the takeover was close or not. It does raise more questions about what exactly happened with the BZG takeover. We may never know as we have heard so many conflicting reports.
Genesio was also linked to Newcastle in April when the Rafa Benitez contract situation was still unsettled.