As the proposed takeover of Newcastle United reportedly draws nearer and nearer, speculation as to whether manager Steve Bruce is to be replaced has been rife.
Bruce – what kind of job has he done?
Names such as Mauricio Pochettino, Massimiliano Allegri and even Rafael Benitez have been mentioned as a possible replacement for Bruce, but does he deserve to lose his job?
It seems unlikely to me that these new owners will have gone through the year-long process of buying a football club without lining up their own man to take the reigns.
That said, in my personal opinion, it seems harsh to remove Bruce from his post. While he certainly hasn’t set the world alight, he’s done a fair job with a mostly poor side.
Newcastle sit 13th in the Premier League with 35 points. With nine games left to play, survival seems to be very likely.
Given that many had Newcastle down to be relegated this season, Bruce deserves at least some credit for that. Allegations of luck have been a little unfair in my opinion – you make your own luck in this game.
That said, I don’t for a second see Steve Bruce as being the man to take a Newcastle team with hundreds of millions at their back forward.
While he has proved to be a decent enough stopgap to keep the team in the Premier League, he isn’t the man to take them to the top six.
Leaving him in his post until the end of the season and then replacing him seem to be the way the club plan on doing things. I’d say that’s the fairest way to go about it.
Who should Newcastle United turn to?
For me, the man United must turn to for that is Rafa Benitez. While Pochettino and Allegri are both incredible managers, Benitez has unfinished business on Tyneside.
He left under a cloud of disillusionment and bad feeling towards Mike Ashley and co who he, rightly, believed showed no ambition or drive to even attempt to turn Newcastle back into the major force they were in the nineties.
The fans have always demanded a club that tries and that shows some ambition – Benitez got that, and echoed it. He left as a result of the hierarchy not seeing that.
If the new owners share the same vision – and all reports suggest they definitely do – then Benitez will certainly want to come back and finish the job he set out to do the first time he joined the club.
Would anyone else be welcome?
While the general consensus on Tyneside for Benitez is one of love and admiration, he is not without his critics among the Geordie nation.
A lot of fans believe his football is too negative and too boring – which isn’t altogether untrue.
As a result, someone like Mauricio Pochettino could be a more widely welcomed appointment. He loves to promote youth, has a great pedigree, plays with attacking intent and just about ticks every box there is to tick for Newcastle fans.
Two weeks ago, I would have laughed in your face if you suggested that Mauricio Pochettino might want to become the Newcastle manager.
Now, in this incredibly dangerous new world full of pandemics and potential Saudi Arabian oil money, anything is possible.
For now, let’s just focus on getting the takeover completed, staying healthy and getting the Premier League season back underway.