Two former Liverpool staff eyed for Newcastle United roles post-Saudi takeover
Work to put together a world-class backroom team at Newcastle United remains in progress despite the fact the Magpies' owners-in-waiting are yet to be given regulatory approval by the Premier League.
The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners’ bid to purchase Newcastle from Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley remains in the balance, with more than nine weeks having passed since the league began their owners and directors test.
Legal teams have been poring over pages and pages of documentation initially submitted by the consortium, as well as the scores of documents since put forward by bodies wanting to block said deal.
While the likes of BeIN Sports, Hatice Cengiz and Amnesty International have made representations to Premier League chief Richard Masters - it is understood nothing put forward, according to the buyers' side and legal experts, should prevent top flight approval.
But the longer the wait goes on, the more tension grows, particularly on Tyneside, with a thirst for updates only heightening with a return to football less than a fortnight away.
It is not thought the outcome of the Premier League season will have any bearing on the deal, with Newcastle not yet safe from relegation to the Championship.
As has been the case with other takeover deals in the Premier League in recent years, the owners and directors test, although remarkably secretive in an industry which is anything but, is a two-way street. Queries are put to buyer and seller legal teams and responses worked through. It is not really a strict test despite being defined as such - changes can be made, compromises reached, etc.
And with that in mind, work has been ongoing in the background to sound out managers, players and potential 'football savvy' backroom team members, at football and board level.
While the Saudis have the likes of Sami Al Jaber lined up, with Nawaf Al Temyat, the input from closer to home suggests former Liverpool staff Owen Brown and Frank McParland are favourites to play a prominent role in the new regime.
Former Nottingham Forest director of football and Rangers talent spotter McParland is being eyed for a recruitment role, while Brown, a former scout and player liaison officer at Anfield, is someone who could well be considered for a director of football role, should the deal get the green light.
McParland was renowned for his ability to find talent at Liverpool, with Raheem Sterling his most high-profile find.
Brown and McParland are, of course, trusted generals of Rafa Benitez, who remains under contract at Dalian in the Chinese Super League.
Benitez, with former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino, is one of the favourites to take the manager’s role with the bookmakers.
It is understood Steve Bruce will see out this season, though – and be given the chance to prove he can take the club forward, especially with such a short turnaround expected between the end of the 2019/20 season, at the end of July, and the start of the 2020/21 season, thought to be pencilled in for September.