Former Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre and ex-Chelsea manager Frank Lampard are two of the names Newcastle United are considering as manager to replace Steve Bruce, who is expected to be sacked in the next 48 hours.
Favre, 63, is highly rated on the Continent but has no Premier League experience, whereas 43-year-old Lampard is a household name among English football fans but failed to get Derby promoted from the Championship and was sacked by Chelsea last season following a poor start to the season.
Favre was also dismissed at Dortmund at the end of last season and turned down the chance to manage Crystal Palace in the summer as he was wary of taking on a club in the bottom half of the Premier League.
Whether that changes after a conversation with Newcastle’s new owners, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), remains to be seen, but they would be able to offer far more financial backing than he would have received at Palace.
Like Favre, Lampard is also out of work and could take over swiftly if offered the Newcastle job. Lampard would also be a star name to help launch the first stage of the project and arguably did a far better job at Chelsea than he was given credit for with a young team and constrained by a transfer embargo. His replacement at Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel, won the Champions League with the same group of players a few months after replacing the former England international.
It remains to be seen if another former England legend and current Rangers manager, Steven Gerrard, is interested in the job.
Although there is hunger at Newcastle for a quick decision to be made and for Bruce’s sacking to be confirmed by the club as early as possible, there is understandably a lot of work to be done with a number of voices competing to be heard in and around the consortium.
Its leading figures, Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi, held a surprisingly long meeting with Bruce at the club’s training ground yesterday afternoon which was described as both informative and cordial.
Despite talking for around an hour, a definitive decision was not taken on whether Bruce will continue. It is thought he was asked to give a full appraisal of the squad and, in turn, was told about the new regime’s ambitions for the future.
It is still expected that Bruce will be relieved of his duties before the Tottenham game on Sunday and that announcement should come in the next 48 hours.
Sources have told The Daily Telegraph that one of the potentially complicating factors is that Graeme Jones, the first-team coach, is not sure he wants to take over as caretaker if Bruce steps aside.
However, it would seem unlikely would refuse to take charge of the team if the new owners wanted him to given his future at the club will also come into question when a new manager is appointed.
The Daily Telegraph has also been told that the new regime has got off to a slightly chaotic start because of the speed with which the takeover went through last week after being in deadlock since April 2020 .
The new board did not expect to be in charge until next year at the earliest so the list of candidates to replace Bruce has not been firmed up.
Even when Staveley and Ghodoussi have reached an agreement on who to approach about the manager’s job, it will also have to be approved by the club’s new owners, who insist on making all the final decisions even while they operate away from the public glare.
The new chairman, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, has penned an open letter in the local newspaper, the Newcastle Chronicle, but otherwise PIF are likely to keep a low profile.
The Saudis are aware of the controversy the takeover has caused and a source said they want to “manage expectations” in the early stages of the project rather than make any bold statements or promises.
As things stand, the Saudis, who have an 80 per cent controlling stake, are taking a keen interest in everything that happens at St James’ Park , with some suggesting this is effectively a probationary period for their consortium partners in terms of running the club and formulating a plan for the future.