Reports coming out of France suggest Newcastle have made Lyon boss Bruno Génésio their preferred choice should Rafa Benitez opt against extending his stay at St James’ Park beyond this season.
But the Newcastle Chronicle report that any approach, whether genuine or speculation, is very much likely to be a backup option, with getting Rafa to commit long-term being the number one goal.
Much like UK politicians are finding in their Brexit negotiations, it is remiss to not have an alternative plan in place, should your preferred choice not work out, no matter how much you hope it will.
And that would appear to be a sensible approach by the club, as much as everyone is united in their hope that it will not need to be acted upon.
L’Équipe claim that Génésio’s agent, Pini Zahavi, has been approached by the Magpies to ascertain the potential availability of the manager who guided his Lyon side into the last 16 of the Champions League.
His side lost to Barcelona, but after a plucky goalless draw in the home leg, had an outside chance of ousting the Spanish giants, before Lionel Messi inspired the Catalans to a 5-1 victory in the second leg.
But as we reported yesterday, the signs that Ashley is ready to back down in his stand-off with Rafa are there, and with the announcement of an overhaul behind the scenes at academy level are an indication that the manager may be getting his way.
Despite a contingency plan being the right move, fans will still be keeping their fingers crossed that Rafa is sitting in the dugout in August, and many suggest that no one else will do.
It remains to be seen whether potential boycotts, inspired by the @If RafaGoesWeGo Twitter group, materialise were he to leave, but it would be a dangerous game that Ashley would be playing to risk calling their bluff.
Everyone knows that what Ashley despises most is losing money, and if fans leave in their droves as a result of him failing to tie down their hero, it could end up costing him millions.
What are your thoughts on the revelations? Could it be genuine, or is it another agent trying to get an improved contract for his client? Will Rafa stay? Let us know below…