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Lee Clark: Poch? Coutinho? Analysing Newcastle takeover; Advice to McTominay & Man Utd

There is some anxiety creeping in amongst Newcastle fans with the takeover news. It's been a mixture, there's still positivity from some people but a bit of anxiousness has been creeping in because it is taking so long.

The reason for that are these unprecedented times and what the Premier League, and all football for that matter, is having to contend with. And Newcastle United's takeover isn't going to be top priority at the moment.

But I still believe the takeover will go through. It just isn't the number one priority at the moment. It's not something that the powers that be at the Premier League will be going in and saying it's the most important situation to have to deal with. They've obviously got much bigger things to worry about at the moment. Matches are set to resume on June 17. They'll be looking to run it all safely, the testing of the clubs etc, alongside just checking out all the necessary information. I'm still positive it will go through though, it's just the timing.


Steve Bruce has done a strong job under difficult circumstances. He has got the team in a much stronger position than many people thought it would be. And in my personal opinion he deserves an opportunity to be given the chance to stay in charge if the takeover goes through. Now, if they do give him that chance and he does have an extremely bigger budget, and the training facilities get brought up to the 21st century, and Steve doesn't get the results, then he knows what the consequences will be.

And it will be about getting results quickly, because that will be demanded of whoever is the manager. There will be that demand, you know you have to deliver and get Newcastle up the league as quickly as possible, you've got to get them into those European spots. The new owners won't be wanting to hang about.

There will be no vetting in period for Steve, it'll have to be done quickly. But he also knows that with a takeover there is always the possibility that the new owners will want to put their own man in from day one. When a new ownership comes in and you're the manager you know you're in a precarious position because they want to make an impact and they might want to have their own choice straight away.


If the new owners decide from day one that they want a new manager, I would go for Mauricio Pochettino. And I think it is possible he would accept the job.

Newcastle United is always an attractive job. It's been a difficult one during Mike Ashley's reign because he has run it a little bit differently in terms of competing with the best. If this consortium do get the chance to takeover and their plans and ambitions match what is being said, I think any manager would be very, very interested. Because they know they are going to be given the opportunity and the budget of the squad rebuild to compete and move up the Premier League.

There are only so many jobs out there where it is already set-up where you've already Champions League football. Newcastle Untied with the right ownership falls into the next bracket. And the only reason they are not in the elite is because they are not competing in Europe. Everyone knows you could get even more supporters into St. James' Park, so long as you show the ambition and the team plays to a certain level. So without a doubt I'm certain that Pochettino and those type of guys who have already been mentioned would be interested in what's being said about the club.


Philippe Coutinho and Wilfried Zaha are realistic signings for me. I know the Kylian Mbappes and that have been mentioned and you don't know whether that has just been humour.

I think those type of players are out of Newcastle United's reach at this moment in time. Now further down the line, if the club gets moving into Champions League places and it is challenging domestically, then they could eventually be realistic targets. In this moment in time, the Mbappes of this world are not. But certainly players like Zaha and Coutinho, who needs to get his career back on track to where he was when he was back in the Premier League with Liverpool, certainly those players would be of interest and could have a strong interest in Newcastle United and joining at the start of what could be a huge project.

The same goes for Gareth Bale. I think the situation for Bale hasn't been the choice of club, it's been the club who can match the financial package he is on with Real Madrid. Now Newcastle United with their potential new owners can match that. And I think Gareth coming back to the Premier League and having that opportunity to come at the start of the project could be of interest to him.

When you're an elite player you've got the choice of those Europe powerhouses. The financial packages on offer from those different clubs, there's really not a lot of difference. It's what country you want to play in at the time, it's what club you get excited by. So when you're competing with the elite you want to be competing in the elite competitions year in and year out. The financial packages that Newcastle can offer probably won't turn their heads. What the other powerhouses can offer that Newcastle can't is challenging European trophies.


Disastrous. That's what it will be for Newcastle if they let Matty Longstaff leave.

He's a local lad and a very, very talented player. He has shown outstanding promise in the few games he has played. And the club is based on a tradition where the local players are the heartbeat of the football club. The fans have took to him and his brother Sean and if they want to lose one of those for whatever reason it'll be a disastrous move.

I personally think he is going to end up at Watford, with the Pozzo family connection. It is a way of not paying Newcastle a big transfer/compensation fee from one Premier League club to another. Matty can take a few months out, possibly a year at Udinese and then he will end up at Watford. Let's make no mistake that's how you get through the legal loophole of the transfer windows.

For Newcastle it is a bad decision. Let's get it right. For a young player who hasn't played a lot of games it is a big outlay. But you give him a long-term contract and he becomes the player that everyone thinks he is going to be off his initial displays, which is an outstanding top level Premier League player and potential future international. You've got a top player on your hands.

Every signing you make and every young player you give a new contract is a risk, but it is a risk worth taking because he has already shown that he can compete at the highest level. For me he is a player who will get better with better players around him. I think a lot of the players in the Newcastle United squad will benefit from that. Without a shadow of a doubt. I think it will certainly be a big one for them.

What it does show you from Newcastle is the lack of ambition for the sake of x-amount of pounds, which isn't a lot of money in today's Premier League. It shows the lack of foresight to lose a player like Matty Longstaff. He's only worth what clubs are going to pay him, and if Udinese are going to pay the figures that have been talked about then Newcastle have to come up with the same to deal with that. There is no if's or but's about it.


Scott McTominay is going to have to be a player who does a lot of the unseen work. And allows Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes to get on the ball as often as possible.

When I say unseen, I mean unseen from the stands, it takes all types of players. McTominay is a terrific athlete and a good footballer in his own right. He gets around the pitch quickly, breaks play up he plays the ball simply. And if you've got a Pogba and Fernandes ahead of you, you're getting on that ball and breaking the opposition up as quickly as possible and you move on there.

All this feedback you get is that Pogba needs to be playing in a Manchester United team that is challenging and this that and the other. Well now he is going to be playing with someone who is on the same sort of quality wavelength as him and certainly on the same football wavelength as him.

So I think there will be no excuses this time, they have to get things sorted. I'm really excited about watching Fernandes and Pogba finally play together.

Lee Clark
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Lee Clark

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