Newcastle United have drawn up plans to announce their new manager by the end of this week as Unai Emery continues to be linked with the vacancy at St James’ Park, according to reports. The Magpies have been on the lookout for a permanent solution in the dugout since the departure of Steve Bruce, who left the club by mutual consent last month.
The navigation of Bruce’s exit was one of the very first tasks undertaken by Newcastle’s Saudi-backed ownership group after the completion of their long-awaited takeover.
A number of big names have since been linked with the club, including the likes of Paulo Fonseca, Frank Lampard and Antonio Conte, who now looks set to replace Nuno Espirito Santo at Tottenham.
However, it has emerged that Emery is reportedly being considered as a priority target by Newcastle as they prepare to accelerate their search for Bruce’s successor.
The Magpies are said to be keen on paying the Spaniard’s lucrative exit clause in order to prise him away from Villarreal over the coming days.
Emery has recently climbed to the top of Newcastle’s shortlist ahead of Fonseca, Roberto Martinez, Lucien Favre and Eddie Howe, according to the Daily Mirror.
The report claims that final interviews will take place this week as the club’s new owners look to appoint a permanent manager before Saturday’s trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Newcastle would like to speed up the process in order to allow the successful candidate to bond with the players ahead of the match and during the upcoming international break.
Emery is reportedly one of the few names to have gained widespread approval by the board, while the likes of Fonseca, Martinez and Favre have split opinion.
The former is currently enjoying a successful spell in charge of Villarreal, leading the club to Europa League glory and Champions League qualification last season.
He has re-established himself as one of Europe’s top managers after a turbulent period with Arsenal, during which he achieved a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League at the end of his only full season in the dugout.
It remains to be seen whether Newcastle will be able to push a deal for Emery over the line before this weekend’s clash against Brighton as they look to kickstart their survival bid with all three points at the Amex Stadium.
The Tyneside club are yet to win a single match in the league this season and have taken just one point from two matches under the guidance of interim boss Graeme Jones.
Meanwhile, former England striker Chris Sutton recently suggested that Emery could be tempted by the lure of a long-term project at Newcastle, who are expected to be heavily backed by their new owners in future transfer windows.
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“It’s not impossible,” Sutton told BBC Radio 5 Live last month. “I can’t speak for Unai Emery, but many managers would look at this situation as managers use the word project.
“The fact of the matter is that Newcastle United, with the spending power which they have, they could possibly challenge for a Premier League title within the next few seasons.
“That is the gamble which somebody like Unai Emery may actually think is worth taking.
“A manager who was laughed at at Arsenal may think what an opportunity this is, a point to prove.”