As long as a contract remains unsigned at Newcastle, questions will continue to be asked about the future of Rafa Benitez, and where he is likely to be in August.
One thing that seemed to be a non-starter, was the rumour from L’Equipe (in French), that Benitez was looking for a managerial position in France’s Ligue 1.
With Benitez emphatically shutting down all talk of other clubs, and football agencies, in his press conference before the Crystal Palace game, it was hoped that it would put an end to the French speculation.
So it is surprising to see, yet again, a story from the same outlet via Sport Witness linking Rafa with Ligue 1 — this time to take over at Olympique Lyonnais.
The irony, of course, is that Lyon’s current manager, Bruno Genesio, was credited as someone Newcastle were looking at to replace Benitez, should he decide to leave.
It could, of course, be a case of the French press doubling-down with this latest claim, in order to give their previous article, which was denied by Benitez, more credibility.
But regardless of this ‘ifs’, and ‘whys’, these rumblings will persist until a contract is signed.
The worry for fans, will be the effect it is all having on the players.
With Premier League survival not yet guaranteed, and a couple of bad defeats seeing the Geordies pulled right back into the thick of the relegation scrap, the last thing needed is distraction.
Whether it is from alleged French moves, or lack of signed contracts, the not-knowing is damaging, and must play on the minds of both players and fans alike.
It is easy to say they should put everything other than the match in front of you out of their minds, but you cannot switch emotions on and off like a tap.
The one thing that would help the situation of both club, players and fans, would be an announcement that a contract has been signed, and then everyone can focus, and get on with the job at hand.
It is remarkable that the club have let it get to this stage without sorting anything out — remarkable, yet completely unsurprising.
Every deal that Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley have ever done has dragged on, and taken an eternity to complete.
But for all their other failings, not having this one done and dusted long ago, may prove to be their costliest error yet.
What do you think, Newcastle fans? Are you fed up with reading rumours surrounding your manager? Should he sign? Will he leave? Let us know below…
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