A rough summer continued for Newcastle as the Magpies were hammered in Nanjing by a first-choice Wolves lineup 4-0 in Premier League Asia Trophy action.
Diogo Jota scored a pair, and England youth international Morgan Gibbs-White added a third as Wolves took a commanding 3-0 lead into the break. As both sides rung changes in the second half, an Allan Thomas own-goal with five minutes remaining finished the scoreline and doomed Newcastle to yet another summer misstep.
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For Wolves, it was a promising start to preseason play as the lineup featured a host of regulars, with only Mexican international Raul Jimenez, still resting after a successful Gold Cup campaign, missing from the starting eleven. Jota was particularly spectacular, with a brilliant touch in the buildup to his first goal rewarded with the finish, plus his second – Wolves third – where he snatched the ball straight off the feet of Newcastle defender Isaac Hayden in the penalty area.
Gibbs-White also scored off a Newcastle turnover in its own defensive third, with Jonny picking the pocket of Jamie Sterry on the left flank and finding the 19-year-old alone in the middle for a powerful finish from outside the top of the box.
Newcastle has had a rough summer, with the club losing manager Rafa Benitez, selling leading scorer Ayoze Perez, and failing to secure second-leading scorer Salomon Rondon on a permanent basis. The club has yet to sign a single player and was forced to overpay for Steve Bruce, who was in charge for the match against Wolves.
The 2019-20 Premier League Asia Trophy kicks off in China on Wednesday, as four Premier League teams go head-to-head in one of the premier offseason competitions.
WATCH PL ASIA TROPHY
Reigning PL champions Manchester City are involved, while Wolves, West Ham and Newcastle are also out in the Far East. This is the second time the tournament has been held in mainland China, with the two semifinals on Wednesday held in Nanjing, while the final and third-place match will be held in Shanghai on Saturday.
Below is the full schedule for Wednesday’s games in Nanjing’s Olympic Sports Centre.
Newcastle United v. Wolves – 6 a.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Man City v. West Ham – 8:30 a.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Ahead of a heavily rumored move to Newcastle United, Steve Bruce has resigned from his managerial position at Sheffield Wednesday, along with assistants Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence.
The 58-year-old was only in charge at Hillsborough for less than half a season, appointed in January and officially taking charge in February. The club finished 10th in the Championship last season, but performed well under Bruce as he started his tenure on an 11-match unbeaten run and lost just three times under his watch.
Bruce was non-committal when asked about the role on Sunday during an interview with BBC Radio, saying, “Speculation is speculation. It’s in the hands of the clubs. For me, there’s nothing to talk about until the two clubs reach some sort of compromise.”
The Newcastle job is open after the club saw Rafa Benitez‘s contract expire without an agreement for an extension. The club has flown to China for its preseason tour without a permanent manager, and is set to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday as part of the Premier League Asia Trophy.
According to the BBC, Newcastle held talks with Bruce on Saturday, and other reports state Newcastle has already paid Sheffield Wednesday $5 million in compensation for his services despite a brief dispute over the amount that has delayed his appointment by at least a week. According to The Telegraph, Newcastle had balked at paying a multi-million dollar compensation fee for a manager who had been at his current post less than six months and was set to sign a one-year contract, but the club caved knowing the longer the club went without a manager, the longer other business had to wait.
Even with Bruce’s imminent appointment, it may be difficult to get him to China for the preseason tour, as obtaining a visa that quickly may be nearly impossible. Thus, he may have to wait until after the club’s second and final match on July 20 to meet his players.
If talks go well, Newcastle could bring a life-long fan of the club in as its new manager.
Steve Bruce confirmed on Saturday after a Sheffield Wednesday friendly match in Portugal that talks are being held between he and Newcastle over the club’s open managerial position. Newcastle has been without a manager since June 25 when Rafa Benitez left the club due to a difference in opinion between he and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.
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“It’s in the hands of the clubs,” Bruce told BBC Sheffield, via the BBC website. “It’s come from nowhere over the last two or three days, so let’s see what the weekend brings. It’s happened so quickly that I’ve got to take stock of the whole situation. We’ll see what develops over the next 24 to 48 hours.”
It’s an interesting development for Newcastle, but it would always be difficult for them to replace a manager as good as Benitez with another one with his experience and man management. With Newcastle constantly on the verge of being sold it’s a tough job for any manager, which likely won’t get the backing from the front office they need to succeed.
As such, perhaps it makes sense that the only manager Newcastle is going for is one who was born nearby and is a long-time fan. Bruce once managed Sunderland in the Premier League but blamed his firing mid-season in 2011 on tribal hatred from Sunderland fans who wouldn’t let an “outsider” into the club.
By hiring Bruce, who hasn’t coached in the Premier League since taking Hull City up in 2013 and down in 2015, Newcastle could also be looking to try and win over the fans first, who may be disenfranchised by Benitez leaving, and the fans could potentially give the manager some slack if it’s another season without a top-ten finish.
The 2019-20 Premier League season kicks off in 28 days, and Newcastle United is a club without a manger.
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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.”
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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.