Newcastle United are reportedly growing in confidence of striking a deal for their first-choice new manager, having held extensive talks with him on Wednesday evening.
The Newcastle hot-seat only officially became free on Wednesday after Steve Bruce was finally shown the door. Bruce, who has endured a torrent of abuse whilst at the helm on Tyneside, has opened up on the mental effect the job has had on him and his family.
However, it seems unlikely that the position will remain vacant for long. Indeed, the Saudi Arabian owned Toon appear unlikely to waste much time in their hunt for a new boss.
And according to The Guardian, the man in question is Paulo Fonseca, the former Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk boss.
The 48-year-old came close to getting the Tottenham job over the summer, before a late change of heart.
However, a first forray into the Premier League now looks likely for the Portuguese following extensive talks on Wednesday.
He is reportedly the first-choice of minority shareholder and director Amanda Staveley, who is a big fan of Fonseca.
The Portuguese coach favours an attacking brand of football. And his astute tactical acumen also has the approval of her fellow new owners.
The Guardian suggests a final decision remains pending over Fonseca. However, he’s seemingly willing to take the job.
The report claims five other candidates are also being considered, with Roberto Martinez, Frank Lampard, Lucien Favre, Steven Gerrard and Eddie Howe also in the running.
Martinez is also thought to be keen, given he has a strong association with Toon caretaker Graeme Jones.
However, prising him away from the Belgian FA and Newcastle’s new owners could well be swayed by Fonseca’s instant availability.
Jones is likely to take charge of this weekend’s trip to face Crystal Palace. However, the appointment of Fonseca before hand cannot be ruled out.
Newcastle ready to shell out for Dembele
The next Newcastle manager is likely to receive a January budget of around £50m too, according to reports.
And the first of those prospective new signings has seemingly already been identified in the shape of Ousmane Dembele.
Dembele, 24, moved to Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund for an exorbitant fee in August 2017. The Catalans paid an initial £96.8m, potentially rising to £135.5m. But the attacker has flopped badly and has not played a game this season.
He scored 11 goals in 44 games last season, while his Barca record stands at 30 goals and 21 assists in 118 games.
Dembele’s current deal expires in 2022 and efforts to tie him down to a new deal have fallen on deaf ears.
Barca have lodged extension offers with the player’s agent, but they have been ignored.
The Vernon-born forward is now looking at his options, with a potential move to Newcastle on the horizon.
That has reportedly seen Newcastle make contact, with Goal claiming Dembele “would be open to a move to Newcastle United”.
He can speak to foreign clubs from January and could leave for free next July.
The deal Dembele is reportedly looking at is €15m-a-year, over five years with a €15m signing-on bonus.