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Newcastle quoted new, “far greater” price to hire Steve Bruce

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The 2019-20 Premier League season kicks off in 28 days, and Newcastle United is a club without a manger.

[ TRANSFER RUMORS: Alderweireld to Roma, Haller to West Ham ]

After Rafa Benitez left the club in his rearview last month, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley began the search for Benitez’s successor. Benitez’s last day as Magpies boss was more than two weeks ago.

Steve Bruce, who’s currently in charge of EFL Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, has been reported as the leading candidate for a few days now, yet no announcement has been made; no official word from either side that negotiations have taken place.

Now, four weeks to the day before the new PL season kicks off, there are reports out of the UK stating Wednesday have demanded an increased fee from Newcastle to buy Bruce out of his existing contract. According to Sky Sports, the figure Wednesday quoted Newcastle is “far greater than originally expected.”

[ MORE: Atletico Madrid to legally contest Griezmann’s transfer to Barcelona ]

Given Ashley’s penny-pinching ways, no one in the soccer world would be surprised if he flat out refuses and walks away from the negotiating table, and starts the hiring search over from square one.

Just when Newcastle backed its way into a brilliant manager and an increasingly stable foundation for the club going forward — not to mention talks of a takeover that seemed very real at the time — they suddenly find themselves with none of the above, with many thanks to Ashley. Again.

Newcastle’s Almiron ‘honored’ but knows nothing of Real Madrid reports

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Rumors from Paraguay of a Real Madrid in Miguel Almiron have reached the Newcastle United playmaker.

Signed on a club record fee last year from Major League Soccer and Atlanta United, Almiron electrified the Magpies’ attack even if he didn’t assault the stat sheet.

[ MORE: USWNT-France preview ]

Current Newcastle owner Mike Ashley loves a profit more than most, and Almiron’s boss Rafa Benitez will leave the club on Sunday.

A report last week claimed that Real would look at Almiron if its unable to land a playmaker like Paul Pogba or Neymar. Could all these things conspire to make Almiron’s tenure at Newcastle just a half season?

From The Chronicle:

“No, I do not know anything about that,” Almiron replied. “For me it’s an honor that a team like that [Real Madrid] looks at me, but I’m not aware of anything and now I’m focused on the Copa America, and then Newcastle.”

The Magpies are again in limbo, with Benitez leaving and a mysterious takeover bid from the Middle East leaking few details after a hot and heavy debut.

Claudio Ranieri and Giovanni van Bronckhorst have been linked with the manager’s job, as have a laundry list of others. While there’s no guarantee that the Magpies new boss would rate Almiron, it’s hard to believe that coach would think there’s enough talent and budget at Newcastle to appreciate the idea of selling the Paraguayan playmaker.

Ranieri, Van Bronckhorst reportedly eyeing up Newcastle opening

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Newcastle United’s soon-to-be vacant manager’s seat will be filled quickly, and there’s plenty of interest in the position.

While Jose Mourinho isn’t interested in being at the helm of a team which will not challenge for silverware, others believe Newcastle can be a place of success and want to take over for out-of-contract Rafa Benitez.

Sky Sports say that Claudio Ranieri is interested in making Newcastle his fourth Premier League job, having led Chelsea, Leicester City, and Fulham.

[ MORE: Norwich adds Drmic ]

Ranieri finished the season with Roma following his dismissal from Fulham, where he was one of three managers to fail in a bid to keep the Cottagers in the Premier League.

And Sky also says that Giovanni van Bronckhorst is intrigued by the idea of Northeast England. The 44-year-old Dutch centurion managed boyhood club Feyenoord from 2015-19, leading the club to two KNVB Cups and its first Eredivisie title in 18 years.

Gennaro Gattuso continues to be mentioned as a possibility, and the oddsmakers seem to think ex-Swansea boss Garry Monk, veteran manager David Moyes, and Man City assistant Mikel Arteta are the favorites for the job.

U.S. owned Mallorca promoted to La Liga

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A handful of American soccer and sports stars have been celebrating overnight.

Big time.

Real Mallorca beat Deportivo La Coruna 3-0 at home on Sunday, as they fought back from a 2-0 first leg deficit to win the Segunda division playoffs and seal a return to La Liga after a seven-year absence.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

The owner of the Phoenix Suns, Robert Sarver, and his ownership partner Andrew Kolhberg, lead the American group that bought Mallorca, from Spain’s Balearic Islands, in 2016 for around $22.7 million.

NBA legend Steve Nash, plus former USMNT stars Stuart Holden and Kyle Martino (one of our PL on NBC analysts) also own a minority stake in the club, while Martino’s fellow NBC analyst Graeme Le Saux is also a team consultant.

Rafael Nadal, a Mallorca native, was at the second leg to witness the incredible comeback, as the goal which sent them to La Liga arrived in the 82nd minute from Abdon Prats as Mallorca led 1-0 at half time. A huge pitch invasion at the Estadi de San Moix then capped off a a memorable season as Mallorca finished fifth in Spain’s second tier, one place ahead of Deportivo who just snuck into the playoffs.

Martino revealed his delight in seeing Mallorca complete back-to-back promotions to get back to the top-flight of Spanish soccer.

“Last night was one of the greatest in my short life in football. Over past few years a truly great club fought odds to reach top tier of Spanish football once again. Humbled and grateful to be part of this club. Thank you to our incredible fans, honored to be one of you.”

Mallorca will now be heading to the Nou Camp and the Santiago Bernabeu next season to take on Barcelona and Real Madrid, as their incredible rise through the leagues will be rewarded by taking on the likes of Lionel Messi and Co. in 2019-20.

Look out for Martino, GLS, Nash and Holden in the directors box at the Nou Camp next season.

Rafael Benitez out as Newcastle’s manager

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Rafael Benitez will leave his role as Newcastle United’s manager this weekend.

The contract of the Spanish coach runs out on Sunday, June 30 and he has failed to agree a new deal at St James’ Park.

With the uncertainty over whether or not owner Mike Ashley will sell Newcastle over the summer, there appeared to be plenty of obstacles for both parties to overcome.

The fact that Benitez declined to extend his contract last summer when it had just one year remaining said a lot about where his head was at, as there was constant talk about his future over the past six months.

It is believed in recent weeks that he was only offered a one-year contract extension by Ashley.

Benitez, 59, has spent the past three full seasons at Newcastle after he joined in March 2016 but failed to save them from relegation from the Premier League.

The former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Valencia, Inter Milan, Napoli and Chelsea manager stayed in charge and led them to promotion from the Championship, then stabilized the club in the Premier League with 10th and 13th place finishes on a shoestring budget.

Below is the statement from the club in full, as Benitez’s backroom staff also leave St James’ Park alongside him.

“It is with disappointment that we announce manager Rafael Benitez will leave Newcastle United upon the expiry of his contract on 30th June 2019. We have worked hard to extend Rafa’s contract over a significant period of time, however it has not been – and will not be – possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives.

“We would like to thank Rafa and his coaching team for their efforts over the last three years and their significant contribution to what has been collectively achieved. We would also like to thank our supporters, players and staff for their patience during a period of uncertainty. The process to appoint a successor will now begin.”

Benitez leaves Newcastle with his reputation enhanced and Newcastle’s passionate supporters will now be upset and angry with owner Ashley that they have lost a hugely successful manager.

It is believed that Benitez wanted more money to spend this summer to push Newcastle up the table and challenge for a top seven finish, as well as making significant runs in cup competitions.

That will not happen as the uncertainty over Newcastle’s future remains, while Benitez has been linked with a move to manage in the Chinese Super League.

He will not be out of a job for long, as the job he has done at Newcastle has been nothing short of sensational.