Mauricio Pochettino will be no Kevin Keegan for Newcastle United post-Saudi takeover, go for Rafa Benitez – pundit
The Gazette understands Pochettino is at the top of the the Magpies’ wanted list following the conclusion of the 2019/20 Premier League season, although there is a divide among the Saudi-led consortium set to take control, with Rafa Benitez still favoured by some quarters.
Merson knows exactly who he’d chose to replace Steve Bruce – and it wouldn’t be the Argentine who led Spurs to the Champions League final last season.
"Newcastle's new owners would be making a mistake if they get rid of Steve Bruce and get Mauricio Pochettino,” said Sky Sports pundit Merson.
"Can you really see someone like Pochettino being a success there? He likes to open games up and tries to win with flair. Newcastle’s squad isn’t made for that.
"If they think it’s suddenly going to be Kevin Keegan football all over again they will end up getting relegated.
"It’s all very well saying the new owners will throw money at it. But how much? And who could you attract to transform that team overnight? It won’t be easy.
"If they’re really going to replace Steve Bruce they need someone like Rafa Benitez who’s a bit more pragmatic. Not Pochettino."
Merson thinks that in an ideal world Geordie Bruce should be given the chance to prove himself under new ownership, with the Premier League still yet to give the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners deal their seal of approval.
"The takeover looks like it’s about to happen, and new owners usually want their own man in place,” said Merson to the Daily Star.
"But I think Steve Bruce has done a fantastic job. It’s a hard job and he's done it so well. I’m a big fan of his. I think he’s perfect for them and should keep his job.
"At Newcastle you need to be realistic sometimes. You need to play with ten behind the ball sometimes, even at home.”
Bruce has United 13th in the top flight table, eight points above the relegation zone with nine to play.