Belfast Telegraph

Toon sale will impact on manager's job

 

Decision time: Mike Ashley may seek a short-term boss
Decision time: Mike Ashley may seek a short-term boss

By Damian Spellman

Newcastle's search for a replacement for manager Rafael Benitez will be dictated by the state of play in Mike Ashley's efforts to sell the club.

It's understood the Magpies' owner is seeking clarity on the progress being made by interested parties, principally Dubai-based Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with which his representatives have been holding talks in recent weeks over a potential takeover.

At best, any conclusion appears to be several weeks - if not months - away and that could mean appointing a manager on a short-term basis.

Agents have wasted little time in putting the names of their clients forward for the vacancy at St James' Park, which was created on Monday when Ashley finally lost patience after protracted negotiations with the Benitez camp and unilaterally ended the talks.

As a result, the 59-year-old Spaniard will leave the club when his contract expires at midnight on Sunday and the search for a replacement will begin in earnest.

Managing director Lee Charnley has been tasked with drawing up a shortlist, although Newcastle cannot make any formal approaches while Benitez remains at the helm.

Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have already distanced themselves from the vacancy, while former Feyenoord boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst's representatives have indicated he would be interested.

Burnley's Sean Dyche, Nice manager Patrick Vieira and Manchester City number two Mikel Arteta are also among the bookmakers' favourites.

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