After waiting for more than a year since the takeover news came out, followed by the setback, Newcastle United finally sealed the deal for Saudi Arabia takeover on Thursday. They are now on their hunt for a new boss for saving their campaign this season.
The takeover which reportedly cost £300 million ended Mike Ashley's 14-year stint with its lack of ambition and under achievement. No wonder that this Saudi consortium purchase through PIF (Public Investment Fund) has been warmly welcomed by their fans despite the sportwashing accusation and human rights violation issue towards MBH (Mohammed Bin Salman), the PIF owner. Amanda Staveley, CEO of PCP Capital Partners, who has been heavily involved in this lucrative purchase and will be given the one of the club's board of directors seat, released the official statement regarding the club's ambition.
"This is a long-term investment. Our ambition is aligned with the fans - to create a consistently successful team that’s regularly competing for major trophies and generates pride across the globe.”
With such target, the club is not likely going to keep Steve Bruce as the manager for long. Their current position in the relegation zone, unattractive play, predictable tactical approach and his inability to win any major trophies are something he lacks of for The Magpies's new ambition. Nevertheless, Newcastle's reputation as the outsider of the elite, the current position on the 19th in the standings plus the fact that they do not play in Europe could limit their options for appointing top managers in the middle of the season. These namds are the seemingly possible candidates for Steve Bruce's replacement in the near future after the two favorites, Rafael Benitez and Antonio Conte have to be excluded due to the former's current contract with Everton and the latter's preference to lead a team with chance of winning trophies immediately:
- Paulo Fonseca: The Portuguese manager is still out of contract recently. It certainly makes him as an the most viable choice to start immediately. His most notable achievements were Portuguese Cup 2016 with Sporting Braga, three times Ukraine league titles with Shakhtar Donetsk and reaching semifinals in Europa League 2020 with AS Roma.
- Eddie Howe: The former Bournemouth boss is another possible one to consider. He guided the Cherries for the Premier League promotion twice and finishing on the ninth on the table in 2017. Unfortunately, his lack of experience leading the high profile teams could be the challenge as Newcastle dreams big at the moment to reach the top six.
- Frank Lampard: the former Chelsea star and boss could be well considered for the immediate start. He is currently unattached after being relieved from The Blues. One positive side from him is the experience of leading top sides with bunch of global stars in the squad. The 43-year old former midfielder is undoubtedly a talented manager since he was able to guide Chelsea to finish on the fourth and become the runners-up of FA Cup 2020 in his first season.
- Zinedine Zidane: the world class figure on and off the pitch is also another option to pick. The former Real Madrid boss has incomparable accolades with hattrick Champions League title from 2016 to 2018 plus two La Liga trophies.
- Ralf Ragnick: the former Schalke and RB Leipzig boss has been the notable figure in the rise of German football. He is also known as the inventor of Gegenpressing with DFB Pokal and reaching semifinals in UCL 2011 were his only distinguished results as a headcoach. Unfortunately, he is still under the contract with Lokomotiv Moscow as the Head of Sports and Development.
With those possible names and the current circumstance in St.James Park, unless Zidane agrees to be at the helm of The Toon Army, signing either Fonseca or Lampard seems more reasonable one for the short term one and see how it goes. Their mission this season is to improve their campaigns and hope to snatch one ticket for any continental competition.