Mike Ashley

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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.

Report: Newcastle considering Bruce as takeover talk hamper hiring process

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Is this summer the time Steve Bruce takes the reins of his boyhood favorite club?

The Manchester United hero turned well-traveled manager is “under consideration” for the Newcastle United managerial vacancy, reports The Chronicle citing the Press Association.

[ MORE: What’s next for the USMNT? ]

It also says there are several candidates under consideration, and that a possible sale of the club by Mike Ashley to the Bin Zayed Group is complicating the process of hiring a new manager. That’s no surprise, as Ashley’s hiring of Rafael Benitez was considering a major coup given his reputation, which hasn’t changed much in the interim.

The Chronicle also reports that the club has turned down former Feyenoord boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst due to his lack of experience as a first team manager (which would certainly shutter the John Terry as favorite rumors).

Bruce, 58, has managed every club in England. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but here’s his resume: Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic (twice), Crystal Palace, Birmingham City, Sunderland, Hull City, Aston Villa, and Sheffield Wednesday.

Currently employed by the Owls, Bruce might jump at the chance to return to the Premier League. He led Birmingham City and Hull City to PL promotion, but has had mixed results in the top flight.

Benitez releases statement upon expiration of Newcastle contract

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Rafa Benitez has bid adieu to the fans of Newcastle United after the expiration of his contract.

Newcastle announced last week that the beloved manager would not sign a new deal with the club after contract negotiations stalled over the past month.

[ MORE: Lampard, Chelsea take next step ]

While his tenure started with an inability to save the club’s Premier League status, Benitez’s performance with the Magpies over the past three seasons was nothing short of a success, leading the club back to the top flight before keeping it there despite owner Mike Ashley spending less money than the majority of fellow PL clubs.

Benitez says his hesitance wasn’t just about the length of a proposed deal. He’s frustrated that the club would not make a commitment to his plan of what was needed to grow to the next level.

“Unfortunately, it became increasingly clear to me that those at the top of the Club did not share the same vision.”

The relationship between Benitez and Ashley was almost always an uneasy one, and the former’s courtship of Newcastle’s supporter base was wholehearted. Once Benitez went to public with his pleas for more record spending after the Miguel Almiron signing — which will probably be a club record with incentives — it started to feel like there was more to the story regarding hopes of a new deal.

Report: Benitez ‘increasingly likely to quit’ Newcastle United

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Newcastle United is going to make one more push to keep fan-loved manager Rafa Benitez, but it’s not looking good for his future on Tyneside beyond June 30.

The Telegraph says Rafa Benitez is likely to walk away from Newcastle United when his contract expires at the end of the month.

[ MORE: USMNT faces T&T for first time since Couva ]

It’s another fight over money, for the most part, with owner Mike Ashley also involved in multiple takeover reports. And Benitez is reportedly subject to a $15 million per-year offer from Asia.

Benitez has been told he will have around ($77 million) in this summer’s window and can also raise money from player sales. But, although exceptions could be made, he was also warned that the club could not sanction long-term deals for players over the age of 28, particularly as he was only considering a one-year extension himself.

That last part makes sense, especially if Benitez were to saddle the Magpies with a long-term deal on a player he favors but may not be the next guy’s cup of tea (Salomon Rondon).

Additionally, the Evening Chronicle has a number of big names linked with taking Benitez’s place, including former French boss Laurent Blanc, recently freed AC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso, and David Moyes. Believe it or not, Arsene Wenger is also mentioned should Ashley be willing to spend more (so maybe mentioning him is a bit much).

Blanc or Gattuso is believable, and might be palatable for the currently disgusted supporter base, but hiring an ex-Sunderland failure in Moyes would likely send an already livid group through the roof. Then again, the organization did twice hire Joe Kinnear.

Report: Newcastle in takeover talks with UAE billionaire

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Reports out of Northeast England say Newcastle United supporters who want owner Mike Ashley out at all costs have new hope.

United Arab Emirates billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan is said to be in talks with Ashley about a takeover of the St. James’ Park-based club, though there’s a lot of work to do for a deal to be complete.

[ MORE: USWNT wins final match before World Cup (video) ]

One report goes as far as to say Ashley has agreed to accept $444 million for the Premier League club.

Sheikh Khaled, 61, was educated at American colleges Boston University and Michigan State. He’s the cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and was turned down with a $2.5 billion bid for Liverpool last season.

From The Chronicle:

NUFC have confirmed some talks with Sheikh Khaled. But say there is still “some way” to go on a deal. Newcastle United refusing to make any further comment at this time.

Takeover talks are nothing new at Newcastle, and there does seem to be some heat to these reports, but Ashley and his crew have spun these stories of interest in the past. And with Magpies supporters waiting for news on Rafa Benitez‘s new deal, some will be way of a smoke screen for an inability to reach an agreement with the celebrated Newcastle manager.