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Opinion

Arsene Wenger ideal short-term answer for Newcastle United

3 days ago
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It is quite clear that things happened rapidly last week, after a near two year saga the Newcastle United takeover was suddenly made possible and thankfully was concluded.

Mike Ashley finally on his way out after fourteen years and five months of simply existing as Newcastle fans for the vast majority of that time.

All credit to the takeover consortium for grasping the opportunity to push through the deal when it presented itself, however, taking charge in such a whirlwind has clearly presented a number of immediate challenges.

A desperate start to the season with eight games and no wins, has been a disaster, so no easy initial getting to know the ropes for Amanda Staveley and friends.

It is inconceivable that Steve Bruce can still be left in charge even until Sunday’s game against Tottenham, as it just feels like everything needs to be positive around that first match with new owners, a springboard and first step towards turning this inherited Mike Ashley mess around.

Top of the list is bringing in that new manager and quite clearly, the lack of warning ahead of the takeover going ahead, has left the new owners playing catch up.

If they have got a strong permanent candidate who can be installed very quickly then great, having say Graeme Jones and Steve Harper in charge for the Tottenham match might not be ideal, but as a very short-term plan it is manageable.

However, if no permanent choice is imminent and especially if common sense says the right man would be available in the summer, then to me it makes absolute sense to get in a short-term appointment to get us through this season.

The name that ideally springs to mind for me is Arsene Wenger.

Then by total coincidence as I was musing about the NUFC situation, I saw this on Tuesday afternoon.

Ironic the Saudi connection…

GFFN (Get French Football News) reporting – 12 October 2021:

‘Arsene Wenger returns to management for one-off matches

BeIN Sport report that former Arsenal manager Arsèene Wenger, now Director of Football Development at FIFA, will return to the sidelines on two occasions in the coming months to manage in a charity match and a friendly.

Wenger will first take charge of a “Legends” team at Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome tomorrow for the “Match des héros” charity game organised by Didier Drogba. The 71-year-old will have the likes of David Trezeguet and Eric Abidal under his management, as well as Basketball star Tony Parker.

The former Strasbourg man will then manage a team made up of players from two Saudi Arabian clubs, Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr, in a friendly against Paris Saint-Germain – although this latter game is yet to be confirmed.’

Arsene Wenger is still working in football, doing stuff for FIFA. However, could he be tempted to step back temporarily into football management, back in the Premier League?

There is obviously no doubt that the new NUFC owners could afford any financial package that Arsene Wenger might want, plus I think there could also be a carrot held out to him of being an ongoing adviser to the Newcastle United owners as they turn the club around and rebuild it. After all, he was the man who rebuilt Arsenal and gave them the brilliant platform they have enjoyed from the late 90s onwards.

Getting involved in this Newcastle United project, I think there is a real possibility of somebody such as Arsene Wenger finding it irresistible. Maybe even agreeing to become a director of football if doing an initial stint as manager this season. There certainly appears to be a consensus that having a director of football will be part of the NUFC plan going forward.

If not Arsene Wenger, if not available or deemed not the right choice, I think there will be one or two similar experienced characters out there who could also be possibilities to do a job until next May and give breathing space to the Newcastle United hierarchy.

Obviously though, I am NOT talking Harry Redknapp!

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