Leading overseas candidate expresses interest in managing Newcastle
LUCIEN FAVRE has expressed an interest in taking over at Newcastle United, with Amanda Staveley’s overhaul of the club expected to gather pace in the next few days.
Staveley, the North Yorkshire financier who is now responsible for running Newcastle on a day-to-day basis, visited the club’s Little Benton training complex today, along with her husband Mehrdad Ghoudoussi.
The pair spent around 90 minutes at the training ground, which will be upgraded as part of the infrastructural improvements that are planned in the wake of last week’s takeover, and were pictured chatting and shaking hands with members of the first-team squad including captain Jamaal Lascelles, forward Allan Saint-Maximin and defender Federico Fernandez.
They are also understood to have spoken to Steve Bruce, although tellingly, none of the video footage released by the club on its official website featured the current Magpies manager.
Bruce’s departure, which will result in a pay-off of around £7m, is expected to be confirmed shortly, with his assistant, Graeme Jones, set to take charge of Sunday’s home game with Tottenham, which will see Newcastle’s new non-executive chairman, Yasir al-Rumayyan, make his first visit to St James’ Park.
Jones is understood to be extremely highly-regarded within Staveley’s inner circle, but the former Luton Town boss, who was part of England manager Gareth Southgate’s coaching team at this summer’s European Championships, will not be considered for a permanent position. Instead, Bruce’s departure will trigger a search for a long-term successor that has already seen a host of potential candidates linked with a move to Tyneside.
Some, such as Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers, Belgium manager Roberto Martinez and Rangers’ Steven Gerrard, are expected to figure prominently in Newcastle’s thoughts. Others, such as ex-Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and Brighton boss Graham Potter, are currently understood to be further down the pecking order.
Favre is another leading candidate, and the 63-year-old is understood to have used an intermediary to confirm his interest in taking charge of the Magpies.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager, who has also worked at a number of other leading European clubs including Hertha Berlin, Borussia Monchengladbach and Nice, turned down the opportunity to join Crystal Palace in the summer, with the Eagles subsequently switching their attentions to Patrick Vieira.
However, he is aware of the recent developments on Tyneside and would like the opportunity to lead Newcastle’s new dawn as Bruce’s successor.
As well as looking to appoint a new manager, Staveley and her fellow director, Jamie Reuben, will also spend the next few days looking to firm up the recruitment of a sporting director, who will be charged with the task of overseeing Newcastle’s footballing affairs and spearheading the planning for the January transfer window.
Ralf Rangnick, who is currently the head of sports and development at Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow, is being considered for the role, although Manchester City’s academy manager, Jason Wilcox, is also regarded as an interesting candidate.
An overhaul of Newcastle’s executive-level management structure is also expected to result in the appointment of a new chief executive, although Lee Charnley will remain in his current position as managing director for a ‘bridging period’ between Ashley’s exit and the establishment of a new regime.
Ashley, meanwhile, has been linked with a possible return to football as owner of Championship crisis club Derby County.
The Sports Direct boss, who banked around £305m from the sale of the Magpies, is reportedly interested in a cut-price deal for Derby, who are currently in administration. Ashley’s Sports Direct headquarters in Shirebrook is around 30 miles from Derby’s Pride Park ground.