Newcastle next manager - Five contenders for the job after Saudi-backed takeover with Steve Bruce under threat
With Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) taking a controlling 80 per cent stake in Newcastle in takeover deal worth £300m, the club look set to sack manager Steve Bruce and replace him with a new manager before the end of the international break. With Newcastle currently 19th in the Premier League table, we look at some of the potential candidates who could replace Bruce.
So, who will be in the running for the job should Bruce leave? Here are five potential options that are currently the favourites with the bookmakers...
Roberto Martinez (Belgium)
Roberto Martinez was tight-lipped on the Bracelona rumours
Image credit: Getty Images
Roberto Martinez has been out of club football since he departed Everton for the Belgium national team in 2016. Renowned for playing an attractive brand of football, Martinez is likely a name that would appeal to the owners.
The Spaniard's best achievement with Belgium is a third-placed finish at the 2018 World Cup and their Nations League exit to France on Thursday could ultimately see him look for a new challenge, having failed to lead Belgium's golden generation to silverware.
Interestingly Martinez told Goal in an interview released this week: "I always say that in football, I believe it is about relationships and football project. It doesn’t matter where it might be in the world, it's about having the time and means to have a long-term project and build something.
"That’s what I really enjoy, building something."
Newcastle are certainly building.
However, with the World Cup just over a year away and his name consistently being linked to the Barcelona job in recent weeks - it is no secret Ronald Koeman is under immense pressure at the Nou Camp - the 48-year-old may not want to trade his current job for Newcastle right now unless Belgium sack him imminently; which is a possibility.
Arguably the most glamorous name on the shortlist. The Italian ended Inter Milan's 11-year wait for a Scudetto last season, has shown he can handle the unique challenges of English football by winning the Premier League title (2017) and the FA Cup (2018) with Chelsea and led Italy to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals with an uninspiring team at his disposal.
Perhaps crucially, he is the only name on the list who is currently without a club. He left Inter because the club's owners greatly reduced their financial input and decided against taking the Tottenham job earlier this year.
His CV is one that shows he wants to be in a position where he can win trophies and make use of a large transfer budget. Newcastle will be able to offer him that.
“Generally, I like challenges and I’ve accepted many of them during my career,” Conte told Gazzetta dello Sport in June.
"I look for projects instead and I am ready to stay at home if something is not convincing to me. It has to do with vision, honesty and principles."
He wants a project and Newcastle is a project with a vision for silverware. This could be a suitable fit for both parties.
Steven Gerrard (Rangers)
Image credit: Eurosport
The Daily Mail report that the Rangers boss would be 'intrigued' by a move to Tyneside and it is hard to see why he would not put his name in the hat.
Last season Gerrard led Rangers to their first Scottish top-flight title in ten years without losing a match and successfully reached the knockout stages of the Europa League after winning their group.
To achieve more than that at the Glasgow club is a big ask and career stagnation will not be on Gerrard's personal agenda.
The Liverpool job looks to be the end goal for Gerrard in the managerial world, but it may be that he has to prove himself in the Premier League first at a club where he would likely have more resources than he could even imagine having at Liverpool one day. It is worth remembering, too, that the current Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has three years left on his contract.
Considering the cut-throat nature of managing in the Premier League, Newcastle must be one of the cushiest introductions you could possibly have.
Eddie Howe (Unattached)
Steve Bruce (L) and Eddie Howe (R)
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Howe was constantly linked to the Celtic job last season before talks broke down at the final hurdle in late May.
The 43-year-old is still on the lookout for a new club and knows what it takes to build whole new identity for a football club having steered Bournemouth from League Two to the Premier League and kept them there for five years before relegation finally struck.
It is highly unlikely that salary or backroom staff demands would be a problem should they hire the Englishman, but the real question is whether he is a manager with credentials that are impressive enough for the club's ambitious ownership group.
He may be a short-term option until the end of the season and could well ensure Premier League survival this campaign, but does he have the necessary experience to aggressively elevate the club to trophies and European football with funds he has never had access to before? That is what the owners would have to weigh up.
Brendan Rodgers (Leicester)
Steve Bruce (L) and Brendan Rodgers (R)
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Rodgers significantly bolstered his CV last season by taking Leicester to FA Cup glory and back into European football before adding a Community Shield in August.
What has eluded the former Swansea, Liverpool and Celtic boss so far in his managerial career is a Premier League title or meaningful European success.
With Leicester currently in a rocky patch, sitting 13th in the Premier League table, he may decide now is the time to move on to a club with greater financial resources.
His move from Celtic to Leicester in February 2019 was a controversial move and moving to a Premier League club who are currently six places below them in the table would likely attract a negative reaction from some.
But right now may not be the time for Rodgers to look for a new challenge with Leicester in the thick of a Europa League campaign, while Newcastle may simply feel there is a more suitable manager for them. The 37-year-old looks to have an outside chance of being the next Newcastle boss.