Newcastle United manager: 6 contenders to replace Rafa Benitez
Newcastle United's defeat at Norwich means the Magpies are staring the Championship straight in the face '“ and will more than likely need a new manager.
Rafa Benitez has an escape clause in the three-year contract he signed last month which could see him leave if Newcastle are relegated – and has already been linked with the Spanish national team job.
And with United six points from safety with just seven games left, the hierarchy already need to start drawing up potential replacements.
Here are six possible managers Newcastle may look towards if they do drop down to the Championship.
The 52-year-old guided Leicester City to the Premier League after winning the Championship in the 2013-14 season. Pearson’s men also pulled off a great escape the following year after a tremendous run of form ensured the Foxes finished in a respectable 14th place. Newcastle could be an attractive offer for Pearson who could see this as a perfect opportunity to get back into football at a club where he worked as assistant manager in the past. For Newcastle, having a manager who knows how to get out of the Championship would be a major attraction too.
The former Liverpool boss has also endured Championship success after his Swansea City side beat Nottingham Forest in the play-off final in 2011. Rodgers was previously linked with the Newcastle job before Benitez took over, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the North East club were to rekindle their interest in the Irishman.
Derby County relieved Steve McClaren of his duties in 2015 and brought in Paul Clement. The ex-Real Madrid coach proved he was more than capable of doing well in England after losing just seven games of his 33 matches in charge. In a shock announcement, Clement was dismissed from his role at Derby despite the Rams being handily-placed for a return the top flight. Clement hasn’t got a lot of experience as a No 1 but is a highly-rated coach and could be the man who can take the club forward.
Redknapp guided his QPR side to victory over Derby County in the play-off final at Wembley a few seasons ago. Like Pearson and Rodgers, Redknapp has worked in both of the top tiers of English football. Andros Townsend played under Redknapp during his time at QPR so a familiar face would be most welcome if the latter did take the Newcastle job.
Another name that was linked with a move to Tyneside prior to the Benitez reign. Moyes has experience in both England and Spain and would possibly welcome a new challenge after his previous job didn’t work out. Real Sociedad was Moyes’ previous destination and despite things not working out on the pitch, the former Everton boss wouldn’t shy away if giving the opportunity.
West Bromwich Albion reached the 40-point mark on Saturday after frustrating Sunderland to a 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light. Tony Pulis’ future remains unclear with the Baggies and Newcastle could see this as an opportunity to prize him away from the Hawthorns.