Newcastle must overcome Arsenal issue to make Unai Emery next boss as search down to two

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Newcastle must overcome one issue with Unai Emery as their manager search is narrowed down to two candidates, according to reports. The former Arsenal boss is now the favourite to replace Steve Bruce following a lengthy managerial search. 

The Magpies have been seeking a new head after the club’s new consortium sacked the unpopular Steve Bruce just short of a fortnight ago. Bruce’s job became untenable as fan backlash reached a boiling point following a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham last month.  

The 60-year-old was viewed by supporters as a symbol of the controversial Mike Ashley era.  

Bruce’s assistant, Graeme Jones, has been in caretaker charge for Newcastle’s last two matches as new director Amanda Staveley searches for a replacement. The boyhood Newcastle fan oversaw a draw with Crystal Palace and a comfortable 3-0 loss to Chelsea.

Staveley helped to broker the eye-watering £305million purchase of the club from Ashley on 7 October. She fronts the consortium which is 80 per cent backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. 

A careful recruitment process has taken place, with several big names linked to the job. England icon Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and John Terry have all been suggested. At one stage, Former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca was the favourite. 

But the Portuguese now appears to be out of contention. According to The Athletic, Emery is instead the favourite with Newcastle having narrowed down their options to two names. 

The Spaniard will apparently battle it out for the role with ex-Bournemouth head coach Eddie Howe, who has been out of work since leaving the Cherries in the summer of 2020. 

However, Newcastle will allegedly neeed to overcome one hurdle if they are to appoint preferred choice Emery. The 49-year-old remains in charge at Villarreal and will cost £5.1m in compensation. 

That will unlikely be an issue for Newcastle’s oil-rich owners. Instead, they will supposedly need to match the money Emery earned during his time in charge of Premier League rivals Arsenal. The Mirror add that Newcastle hope the new boss will be in place for Saturday’s visit to Brighton. 

Emery was appointed as Arsene Wenger’s successor at the Emirates Stadium in 2018 but was sacked in December 2019. Former Gunners midfielder Mikel Arteta has been in charge ever since. 

Emery has enjoyed better success at Villarreal. He overcame Manchester United to win the fourth Europa League title of his career. His European record is likely to have gone down well with Newcastle, whose new owners have made major promises since completing their takeover in October. 

Staveley has said that whoever the new manager is will be supported by the addition of ‘world-class’ players. 

Newcastle have been linked with an exhaustive list of talent ahead of the January transfer window, with a massive transfer budget expected to be given to the new boss. 

“We are in the market to compete for world-class players,” Staveley told journalists after completing the incredible takeover.  

“We have great ambitions — I hope it’s going to be a game changer for Newcastle United.

“But if you don’t put the infrastructure around that world-class player and you don’t have a team that can play with him, you’ll get nowhere.” 

She added: “The training ground is really awful and needs a huge amount of investment. Luckily, that is one area we are not restricted by Financial Fair Play. There is no point in having fantastic players if there is nowhere for them to train. 

“To get to the top of the Premier League you need a strong foundation, not just great players. They need to be robust and we need to build them. We also want to invest in St James’ Park — it needs a little bit more love.”

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