Newcastle United next manager: Unai Emery in talks, could cost £5.1m to appoint the ex-Arsenal boss
Newcastle United are in talks with Villarreal boss Unai Emery over the vacant managerial position.
The club’s new owners began their managerial hunt last month following the sacking of Steve Bruce, and the former Arsenal manager has been identified as their preferred choice.
Discussions are underway with the 49-year-old Spaniard and should negotiations progress, the Magpies will be required to pay £5.1million in compensation. He is under contract until 2023.
Emery, who has won the Europa League with Sevilla and Villarreal, previously managed in the Premier League with Arsenal.
He won 43 of his 78 games in charge at the Emirates – a win percentage of 55.1% – drawing 16 and losing 19.
According to The Athletic, if a deal cannot be reached with Emery, United will turn their attention towards former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.
Howe almost became Celtic manager in the summer but has been out of work since August 2020.
Newcastle travel to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday with Graeme Jones in line to take charge of his third game as interim boss.
Jones, since stepping in after Bruce’s departure, managed a draw against Crystal Palace before losing 3-0 to league leaders Chelsea.
However, Jones could swiftly revert back to his assistant coach role for the trip to the Amex Stadium should the new owners appoint someone in time.
Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez might have ruled out a return to Newcastle – but the bookmakers haven’t given up complete hope.
It’s probably nothing more than a sheer coincidence but since the Saudi Arabian-backed consortium completed their £305million takeover of United, Benitez has lost every game as Toffees boss.
Defeats against West Ham, Watford and Wolves has seen the Goodison Park club drop to 10th in the Premier League table and as a result, created some interesting – and mostly bonkers – theories that Benitez is angling for St James’s Park return.
And it appears the bookies are thinking along similar lines, with Benitez’s odds of becoming the next Toon manager dropping from 16/1 to 10/1 after Everton’s 2-1 loss at Molineux on Monday night.
In the Sky Bet running, Benitez is now sixth favourite behind leading candidate Unai Emery, Paulo Fonseca, Roberto Martinez, Eddie Howe and Luicen Favre.
Indeed, Benitez was the new owners’ number one choice for the managerial position when they first attempt to buy the club last year.
However, as the takeover was delayed by the Premier League, Benitez was appointed Everton boss in June.
Benitez quashed talk over a potential return to Tyneside last month. He said: “The point is that I have a very, very good relationship with Newcastle United fans, with the city, everyone.
“I think it’s not fair to talk too much about that.
“I am the Everton manager now, I am focused on that and I wish them all the best.
“There are so many things that we can talk about, I prefer just to stay away from that and just wish them all the best. Sorry about that.”