Newcastle United's position on Rafa Benitez's future explained amid link to Bruno Genesio

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Newcastle United still hope to persuade Rafa Benitez to stay at Newcastle United.

The club was today linked with a summer move for Olympique Lyonnais manager Bruno Genesio.

L'Equipe claim that Newcastle are making contingency plans should Benitez, out of contract in the summer, refuse to sign a new deal.

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Benitez – who this week celebrated his third anniversary at St James's Park – became frustrated with a lack of backing in the transfer market following the club's promotion to the Premier League two years ago.

United owner Mike Ashley, however, sanctioned a club-record move for Miguel Almiron in January's transfer window which could cost the Newcastle up to £21million with add-ons.

The club refused to comment on the Genesio report, but United's position on Benitez is understood to be unchanged.

Ashley wants the 58-year-old to sign a new deal, and club officials are waiting for Benitez to signal that he's ready to reopen contract talks.

Benitez and Ashley have differing views on recruitment and investment, and Benitez is prepared to walk away from the club in the summer.

Asked if he would be hard to leave Newcastle, Benitez said: “Always, when you are happy in a place, it’s not easy (to leave).

“But, at the same time, you want to compete, you want to do well and you want to improve."