Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
The controversial Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United is accelerating towards completion and the new Magpies owners have made Mauricio Pochettino their number one choice to be the next manager at St. James’ Park.
The highly-regarded coach, who was sacked by Tottenham Hotspur last November, is believed to be keen on a return to the Premier League and the prospect of working with an unlimited budget is certain to appeal to the Argentine who was often left frustrated by Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy’s notorious transfer market frugality.
No decision from Pochettino or the Saudi-backed consortium is expected before the Premier League convenes to determine whether the £300m buyout of the club from Mike Ashley should be ratified, however supporters in the North East are already excited about the possible appointment.
Pochettino’s impressive Tottenham tenure
Newcastle’s prospective owners are thought to be hugely impressed by Pochettino’s track record with Spurs, where he oversaw an extensive rebuilding project during his five-year stay in North London.
Pochettino transformed Tottenham from perennial also-rans into one of the Premier League’s most exciting and formidable outfits, and the 48-year-old masterminded Spurs’ run to the Champions League final in 2019 despite not signing a single player the summer before.
The former Southampton boss’ eye for talent and ability to improve players was also evident at Spurs, and current stars Dele Alli, Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane all blossomed and thrived under his leadership.
Tottenham finished in the Premier League’s top four in all but one of the five seasons he managed them, despite the club’s comparatively meagre transfer outlay.
Newcastle’s plans for Pochettino
Given his impressive career accomplishments to date, it’s little wonder that Newcastle’s new incoming custodians have identified Pochettino as the perfect candidate to help transform United into one of the continent’s elite clubs over the next half a decade.
While current boss Steve Bruce is expected to remain at the helm at St. James’ Park until the takeover is formalised and the current Premier League season is either finished or cancelled, work will already have started behind the scenes to make the handover to Pochettino as seamless as possible.
Lists of high-profile transfer targets will be drawn up as newly-financed recruitment strategies kick into gear, and Pochettino will likely have a decidedly different set of players to work with when he arrives at Newcastle to the squad that Bruce currently manages.
Who could Newcastle target?
With their newly acquired financial muscle, Newcastle will have the cash to tempt a huge number of previous unattainable stars to the north east.
The Magpies have already been linked with several of Europe’s top players, including Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and veteran Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani, though Barcelona’s wantaway midfielder Philippe Coutinho is believed to be near the top of their list of desired targets.
The 27-year-old enjoyed a hugely successful spell with Liverpool before he swapped Merseyside for Catalonia and Barcelona in January 2018, though the Brazilian’s stock has fallen since, and the schemer could be convinced to return to the Premier League.
Celtic hotshot Odsonne Edouard and Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn have also been mentioned as possible acquisitions this summer, as have in-demand Ajax star Donny Van de Beek and Real Betis creator supreme Nabil Fekir.
Lingering takeover concerns
Plans to hire Mauricio Pochettino and inject cash into the club would be scuppered if the proposed takeover of Newcastle falls through however.
With the number of dissenting and critical voices starting to grow and pressure increasing on the Premier League to block the deal, Newcastle’s lofty dreams and aspirations could remain just that.
However, the latest noise suggests the buyout is nearing finalisation, pushing Newcastle one step closer to what would be an overnight promotion to football’s elite.
Pochettino’s tactical nous and a Saudi-backed transfer warchest would prove a combination potent enough to make Newcastle genuine Premier League title contenders sooner rather than later.
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