ALMOST THERE: Howe agrees deal in principle to become new manager
PA - Catherine Ivill
Newcastle have reached an agreement in principle with Eddie Howe as they close in on their new manager.
A day after former Arsenal boss Unai Emery decided to reject the opportunity to return to the Premier League after holding initial talks with the Magpies, the development will come as encouraging news to fans who have grown restless over a lack of tangible progress.
A successful conclusion to the negotiations would bring an end to a lengthy process which has been ongoing since the club’s new owners sealed their takeover on October 7.
Howe and Villarreal manager Emery were identified as the leading candidates after an initial list was gradually whittled down and it is understood there were supporters for both men within Amanda Staveley’s largely Saudi-backed consortium.
Emery’s higher profile eventually earned him the nod, but sources close to Howe have indicated he did not feel slighted by that decision.
The former Bournemouth and Burnley manager himself had impressed during interview and was open to further talks, which took place soon after the Spaniard had indicated he was no longer interested.
Newcastle will hope to finalise arrangements sooner rather than later with Bruce’s former assistant Graeme Jones, who has been in caretaker charge for the last two games, scheduled to take Friday’s pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Brighton.
Jones has presided over a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace and last weekend’s 3-0 home defeat by leaders Chelsea to extend the club’s winless start to the league campaign to 10 games, a drought which has left them with just four points and one place off the foot of the table.
Should Howe, who has been out of the game since ending his eight-year stint at Bournemouth in August last year, be confirmed in the post, he is likely to formally take up his duties during the forthcoming international break, when he will have time to work with those players not away with their countries.
He would find some familiar faces within the dressing room having worked with Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Matt Ritchie during his time on the south coast, but would face a very different challenge to the one he took on when he started the process of guiding the Cherries from League Two into the top flight.
However, he will also have the spending power of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund at his disposal and the ability to invest significantly in a squad which is in need of an overhaul in January.
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