Newcastle have turned their attention to Eddie Howe in the search for a new manager after Unai Emery rejected their initial advances.
The PA news agency understands the club’s new owners, who believed they were close to landing the Villarreal boss as Steve Bruce’s replacement, have swiftly moved on to the 43-year-old, with the post having been vacant now for more than a fortnight.
It is understood Emery and Howe were the two names which appeared at the top of a whittled-down shortlist after a series of soundings had been taken by Amanda Staveley’s largely Saudi-backed consortium, and that the Spaniard’s profile initially proved the more attractive.
However, the former Bournemouth manager impressed during initial talks and sources close to him have indicated the approach to Emery has not dented his interest.
Assistant manager Graeme Jones was placed in temporary charge when Bruce left the club by mutual consent on October 20 and has since presided over a 1-1 Premier League draw at Crystal Palace and a 3-0 home defeat by leaders Chelsea.
Jones has once again been asked to take Friday’s pre-match press conference, although it remains to be seen how much longer he remains at the helm.
The Magpies are yet to win a league game in 10 attempts this season and sit just one place above the foot of the table with only four points to their name ahead of Saturday’s trip to Brighton.
Staveley’s consortium, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is the 80 per cent majority partner, finally sealed its takeover on October 7 after an 18-month wait to gain control of the club from previous owner Mike Ashley.
They have promised significant investment in the playing staff, the infrastructure and the community, but initially need to make the right managerial appointment to ward off the spectre of relegation, something which has haunted Newcastle since their return to the top flight in 2017.
Howe, who has been out of the game since leaving his role at Bournemouth in August last year, made his name by dragging the club from League Two to the Premier League during a near-eight-year stay.
Life at St James’ Park would represent a very different challenge, with the club having been thrust firmly back into the limelight with super-rich owners, but also the baggage of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record from which they have sought to distance themselves since arriving on Tyneside.
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