Newcastle United are reportedly in talks with their potential new director of football Marc Overmars – who already has an idea of who their next coach should be too.
The Saudi-backed takeover will prompt plenty of changes at St James’ Park in the coming months. There has been plenty of speculation about the kind of players they could sign already. But first, they need to sort out some off-the-field roles to oversee their growth.
With huge funds now at their disposal, they are aiming to become challengers near the top end of the table in the medium-to-long-term. At present, they do not have the personnel to achieve that, though.
Therefore, they are ready to make some appointments to help shape the way they progress in the coming years.
It would seem that the first priority would be to appoint a new head coach. Steve Bruce recently lost his job and Graeme Jones has overseen one of the two matches he will be in caretaker charge for.
But perhaps even before a permanent successor is appointed, Newcastle will need to find a new director of football.
To fill that role, the Mirror reveal that they have opened talks – via intermediaries – with Overmars, who currently occupies such a role at Ajax.
The former Arsenal player has helped Ajax nourish young talent and also spot shrewd deals in the transfer market.
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He is under contract with the Dutch club for another three years, but will be allowed to leave for one of Europe’s top leagues after three months’ notice due to a clause in his contract. And the Mirror claim he would be interested in the Newcastle role should they pay his current club the required compensation.
Personal terms would also not be an obstacle. In fact, Newcastle would be willing to quadruple the £620,000 annual salary he earns at Ajax.
There are two other names in contention to be appointed, though. Newcastle are also weighing up former Lille sporting director Luis Campos and Liverpool equivalent Michael Edwards, who has worked wonders for Jurgen Klopp but has been tipped to leave at the end of the season.
Overmars is regarded as good value for money, though, so has a clear place in Newcastle’s thinking.
Overmars has Newcastle boss preference
Part of his mandate as a director of football would be to help the process of finding a new coach. And it seems he already has a preference of who the club should be looking to appoint.
Citing Dutch sources, the Mirror claim he would want Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag to follow him to Tyneside if appointed.
Ten Hag has been in charge of Ajax since 2017, winning two Eredivisie titles and becoming a Champions League semi-finalist in 2019.
He has been tentatively linked with Newcastle already and even responded to such rumours on Friday.
“The position of technical director is one for the long term,” he said. “Marc set things in motion a few years ago. He did this from a certain vision, he introduced structure and managed. It’s started to grow and I don’t think the process is over yet.
“Marc hasn’t informed me [about the Newcastle interest]. I don’t think he’s withholding anything from me either. I’m not working on [going to Newcastle] and now is definitely not the time.”
Instead, the current favourite for the Newcastle manager’s post appears to be Paulo Fonseca. After leaving Roma in the summer, he was close to joining Tottenham. However, a deal collapsed due to a disagreement with Fabio Paratici.
Fonseca impressed Amanda Staveley in an interview for the Newcastle job, though. Emerging as the preferred candidate, Staveley now seems to have convinced fellow board members of Fonseca’s credentials.
Whichever way, it seems the building blocks are beginning to fall into place for the Magpies.