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Newcastle United have been sent back to the drawing board once again after Unai Emery committed his future to Villarreal on Wednesday. The Spaniard had emerged as their primary target this week after he refused to dismiss the possibility of a move in a recent press conference.
Emery was understood to be the Newcastle board’s preferred option to succeed Steve Bruce.
Some reports had indicated that Villarreal’s Champions League tie with Young Boys would be Emery’s last in the job, although he expressed his commitment to the Yellow Submarine in the aftermath.
“No matter how much noise there was yesterday in another country, within the club there was transparency and loyalty with the Roig family and with my squad, which is maximum and for me is the most important thing,” he said.
“Villarreal CF is my home and I am 100 per cent committed.”
With the position still vacant, Express Sport looks at the three main contenders in the running:
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According to The Athletic, Howe is now the favourite to take charge of the Magpies after Emery’s withdrawal.
The 43-year-old has been out of work since a long and fruitful spell with Bournemouth came to an end 15 months ago.
In his second spell with the club, he famously took the Cherries from League One all the way to the Premier League, where they defied the odds by staying in the top-flight for five full seasons.
Taking charge in the north-east would be an entirely different brief, however, with a potentially limitless budget just one of the stark contrasts from his time with Bournemouth.
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As another manager on the market with a strong CV, Fonseca was seemingly on the verge of being appointed Newcastle boss after Steve Bruce’s departure.
It emerged that Amanda Staveley was left ‘impressed’ by his interview for the job, although the offer never came for the Portuguese’s first foray into the Premier League.
The 48-year-old has been out of work since leaving Roma to make way for Jose Mourinho in May, and came close to joining Tottenham over the summer.
His attacking style of football would be a far cry from what the Magpies have become accustomed to, but could also hinder their prospects of staying in the Premier League.
One candidate who Newcastle fans may not be too excited about, if recent performances are anything to go by, is Graeme Jones.
The former Luton Town manager was part of Bruce’s backroom staff, and the club turned to him on an interim basis while they continue to search for a permanent replacement.
With targets falling by the wayside, Jones could emerge as a longer-term option if he puts together a sensational display against Brighton on Saturday.
However, given their mediocre showings against Crystal Palace and Chelsea under his tutelage, it will have to be a huge statement made on the south coast.
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