Top five Newcastle contenders to replace Steve McClaren

Date published: Friday 11th March 2016 10:00

Rafael Benitez & David Moyes: Both linked to Newcastle job

Steve McClaren’s time at Newcastle looks like it’s coming to the end; here we take a detailed look at the strengths and weaknesses of the top five contenders to replace him in the St James’ Park hotseat.

David Moyes

David Moyes

Forget his ill-fated spell at Manchester United and unsuccessful dalliance in Spain with Real Sociedad because Moyes’ time at Everton is still well respected and he is the bookies’ favourite for the job.

After cutting his teeth at Preston and with a 48 per cent win ratio the 53-year-old was handed the reins a Everton and that is where the Glasgow-born coach earned his stripes. Although his win ratio dropped to 42 per cent, he will look fondly back his time at Goodison where he guided the club into fourth spot  in 2004/05 and into the Champions League, while two consecutive fifth-placed finishes followed in 2007/08, 2008/9 and subsequently another couple of forays into Europe.

Moyes claimed he left Goodison with a heavy heart in the summer of 2013, but he cited the chance to manage Manchester United “was too good an offer to turn down”.  His fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson recommended Moyes for the job at Old Trafford and that probably remains Fergie’s biggest mistake as Moyes struggled to cope with life in Manchester.

He lasted less than 12 months and was criticised for his one-dimensional approach and United’s board were forced to act once the club’s share price started to fall on Wall Street. The shares incidentally picked up the day he was axed and Moyes left with a 52 per cent win ratio – higher than current United boss Louis van Gaal.

His time in Spain also needs consigning to history, but the language barrier and culture ultimately proved too much for Moyes, who did strengthen Sociedad defensively. With that in mind Moyes would surely add some defensive resolve to Newcastle as they look to cure their woeful away form.

Moyes would also delve on his high-pressure experience at Old Trafford and he would give the Magpies a hope of avoiding the drop.

Rafa Benitez

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Just a glance at Benitez’s CV and seeing some of the clubs he has managed tells you that luring him to Tyneside would be a huge coup for Newcastle.

The former Liverpool manager is out of work after getting the boot at Real Madrid in January 2016 and whether he would be open on taking on the club’s current plight is open to debate.

The 55-year-old would certainly influence United’s lack of attacking guile and there’s no doubt he would improve the club’s goals for column, but whether he has no past record of keeping sides up and would he be able to solve their defensive problems?

There’s no doubt if he was appointed and kept the club up, then having the former Napoli and Inter boss at the helm over the summer and preparing for a season in the Premier League would be an exciting prospect. But his lack of experienced with under-performing players and clubs might just sway Newcastle away from his services.

Nigel Pearson

Is there a candidate with a more relevant recent history than Pearson?

With 10 games to go last term, Leicester were bottom of the table and six points adrift of safety and doomed. But after a run of seven victories the foxes finished in a respectable 14th spot and six points clear of the drop zone.  It’s also hard to get away from the fact that he laid the foundations for Leicester’s title tilt this term and surely those facts on there own warrant Pearson as a live contender.

He left Leicester at the end of the season after failing to see eye to eye over the treatment of his son who was involved in an apparent sex orgy whilst on the club’s post-season tour to Thailand.

Pearson has made stupid remarks, shown tendencies of aggressive and bizarre behaviour and he is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. He has even been accused of being a bully. But the latest entry on his CV is strong and Pearson would surely be keen to end his management exile with a chance to rouse a sleeping giant?

Lucien Favre

Lucien Favre: A Premier League target

The Swiss boss is not a household name in England but he has all the credentials to make a go of it on Tyneside.

The 58-year-old is currently out of work after  leaving Monchengladbach last September following a disappointing start to the season. After losing their first five games of the season Favre resigned from the post, despite the Bundesliga side wanting him to stay on and he is believed to be looking for a way into English football.

Favre has a reputation for innovative attacking football, but he also has form for keeping teams up. He saved Monchengladbach from relegation when he took over in February 2011 and then lead them to a third-place finish last season and a spot in the Champions League.

He was recently linked with Swansea, but Newcastle could be the ideal opportunity and with Favre not thought to be looking for a fortune and that might well be a contributing factor for the Newcastle board.

The biggest sticking point could be persuading Favre to take the reins with only a small part of the season remaining and the threat of relegation looming. It’s understood the former Hertha Berlin coach would prefer to wait until the summer to resume his coaching responsibilities.

Brendan Rodgers

during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on October 4, 2015 in Liverpool, England.

Former Liverpool boss Rodgers is believed to have turned down a handful of opportunities to get back into management since his sacking at Liverpool last October. He will surely be on the club’s shortlist if McClaren gets the boot and the feeling on Tyneside, albeit a biased one, is that Rodgers would jump at the chance at St James’ Park.

The 43-year-old will bring with him the experience of three years at Liverpool in which he presided over a very respectable 51 per cent win ratio. That stat alone looks good on Rodgers’ CV, but in fact only once has his win ratio dipped under 40 per cent and that was his 23-game spell at Reading.

His two years at Swansea saw him arrive in the Premier League and his forward-thinking philosophy helped him land the top job at Anfield, where he was a Steven Gerrard slip away from winning the Premier League. Luis Suarez’s goals were obviously a huge factor in Liverpool’s 201/14 season in which they missed out on the title by just two points and had they gone on to claim their first top-flight championship since 1989/90 then Rodgers would surely have bought himself some more time.

But instead the downfall of Rodgers, who has tried to implement the style of Pep Guardiola, was his inability to mix things up; he was intent on playing the perfect game with an emphasis on dominating possession.

It’s unlikely Rodgers will be able to introduce a similar way of playing to a side scrapping for points at the foot of the table, but he does have experience of managing top-class talent and at Newcastle we are led to believe the players are not pulling their weight.

He, like all football managers, has an ego to feed too and would he see Newcastle’s precarious position as a no-lose situation or would he be reluctant to take on the role knowing Championship football was the most likely outcome next season?

Matt Briggs

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