Newcastle United’s new owners are ready to put in place a new management team, which is set to see manager Steve Bruce and managing director Lee Charnley depart the club, 90min understands.
The Premier League sanctioned the takeover on Thursday after Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on beIN Sports broadcasting in their country, which meant a huge issue over piracy of English top-flight football was cleared.
The Premier League also say they have assurances in writing that the Saudi government will have no direct hand in running Newcastle, despite the Public Investment Fund – the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia – owning 80% of the club as part of the new ownership group at St James’ Park.
The new ownership group have been planning for the takeover for more than 12 months. They and outgoing owner Mike Ashley were always confident the deal would go through after he launched legal actions against the Premier League.
The planning has included assessing who will be running the club, which will mean a new chief executive, sporting director and manager. Current incumbents – managing director Charnley and first-team boss Bruce – will be gone within weeks, if not sooner.
90min understands that England boss Gareth Southgate is someone who the new owners covet to take over in the dugout, although he could not leave his current role for 12 months.
A host of big names are being linked, but with highly-rated coach Graeme Jones – who worked for Southgate with England at the Euros – already in place, he could very well be given the chance to take the reins, at least on an interim basis.
Manchester United first-team coach Michael Carrick, also a Geordie, is another whose name has been mentioned as a potential future manager – although his lack of experience could count against him.
The sporting director role is one being looked at closely too, and a number of top candidates have been looked at.
Manchester City’s academy boss Jason Wilcox is a leading candidate, but there are others who are being considered.
Norwich’s highly-rated sporting director Stuart Webber has also been considered, which is no surprise given his reputation as one of Europe’s most impressive recruiters and planners.
Another interesting name is Brentford’s Phil Giles. The Newcastle-born co-director of football at the west London club was once a season ticket holder at St James’ Park. Luring him away from the Brentford Community Stadium – even with their new-found wealth – would be easier said than done, but he would be a hugely impressive appointment.
The new owners are making sure that fans know that although they have the funds – indeed they are now arguably the richest club in the Premier League – spending and investment will be systematic and intelligent, and the best interests of the club’s future will always been considered.
That said, sources have confirmed to 90min that January spending is likely as staying in the Premier League is now their number one priority in order for them have the platform to successfully build for the future.
As well as top-flight safety, improvements to St James’ Park, the training ground and fan relations are very high on their immediate ‘to-do’ list.