Newcastle United’s new owners will step up their hunt for a new manager in the wake of Sunday’s disappointing defeat to Tottenham and have set their sights on former Arsenal boss Unai Emery.
The Magpies were beaten 3-2 by Spurs in their first match under their new Saudi Arabian owners with fans chanting for Steve Bruce to be sacked as new chairman Yasir al-Rumayyan watched on from the stands.
There had been an expectation that Bruce would be dismissed prior to Sunday’s game, though his stay of execution will not last much longer with the veteran manager not likely to be in charge for Newcastle’s next match against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Despite links with a host of well-respected coaches – including Antonio Conte, Brendan Rodgers and Rafa Benitez – Newcastle appear to have lowered their expectations after a fruitless managerial hunt so far.
According to The Times, they have now whittled their shortlist down with three names at the top of their revised wishlist: Roberto Martinez, Steven Gerrard and Emery.
The latter is a new name to enter the frame, with Newcastle attracted to the proposition of landing a manager who has won the Europa League on four different occasions – most recently pipping Manchester United to the title last season.
However, Villarreal have made a rather underwhelming start to the new campaign and sit in 11th place in the table after winning just two of their first eight matches.
They are also winless in the Champions League and Newcastle may sense an opportunity to lure the former Arsenal manager back to the Premier League, with Emery very highly regarded despite a mixed record at the Emirates.
While Emery still has two years left to run on his Villarreal contract, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez is out of contract next summer and would be considered a more affordable option for Newcastle – particularly as they need to spend £8million to part ways with Bruce.
Rangers boss Gerrard, meanwhile, was asked about the Newcastle job on Friday and said: ‘I think it’s interesting what is happening at Newcastle, I think if anyone deserves a break it’s the Geordie fans, so I’m sure excitement levels are very high on the Toon.
‘I’m sure everyone involved with the game is looking on with interest to see how it develops, but from a personal point of view I don’t really get involved in speculation and I wish Steve all the best.’
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