One of the biggest stories in football at the moment is the looming takeover of Newcastle United. After thirteen years of mediocrity and (frankly) hilarity under Mike Ashley, it’s looking very likely that the Tyneside club will be sold to a consortium group that is backed by the Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund.
Obviously, a Premier League club such as Newcastle being bought up by a petrol state has a lot of people side-eying the deal intensely, and for pretty good reasons! There are already murmurs that the new owners are going to start spending cash like there’s no tomorrow, starting with the managerial position. And according to ESPN and other sources, one of the top names on the wish list is none other than Mauricio Pochettino.
Poch, who was fired from Tottenham Hotspur in the fall, is on the list along with Massimiliano Allegri, Lucien Favre, and even (hilariously) Rafa Benitez. This is all despite the fact that Newcastle already has a manager in Steve Bruce, who “will be given a chance to prove himself,” and suggests that any managerial move would probably not happen until the end of the current Premier League season, assuming it isn’t cancelled.
The same sources also suggest that the new owners could target Edinson Cavani as a player when the transfer window opens.
The Evening Standard, meanwhile, raises the intriguing possibility that a Pochettino appointment would mean that Spurs would not be due any financial compensation. Apparently in the terms of his termination agreement with Tottenham, the club would be due compensation from Pochettino if he were appointed as manager of any club within six months of his termination.
That was obviously intended for make sure that Spurs wouldn’t have to face a Poch-managed club until the start of next season. However, the current plan is that the Premier League season will be completed starting in June, which means there’s a chance that if they pull the trigger, Newcastle could appoint Poch as manager before the end of this current season, with Spurs still facing a trip to St. James’ Stadium before the end of the campaign. Awkward!
This is pure speculation, of course. The takeover hasn’t even been completed yet so worrying about Pochettino at Toon is premature to say the least. One wonders if Poch is up for another rebuilding project at a club like Newcastle, when he would likely be very high on the wish-list for any number of bigger clubs. Plus, he’d have to learn Geordie, it’s like a whole new language.
However, it’s not out of the question that big money and the opportunity to stay in England (albeit in the FAR NORF) would be attractive to Pochettino, especially if a big club such as PSG doesn’t come calling. Stay tuned, because this could be a VERY interesting offseason.