Insult to Rafa: Saudi consortium could make first major NUFC mistake with this man – opinion

Insult to Rafa: Saudi consortium could make first major NUFC mistake with this man – opinion

One of the big decisions that Newcastle’s prospective new owners will have to make, is what to do with current manager Steve Bruce.

The 59-year-old took over from Rafa Benitez on a permanent basis last summer, and has led them to a respectable 13th place in the Premier League, just six points behind eight-placed Tottenham.

But with a takeover, talks of more high-profile managers have started to dominate the discussions, and according to Italian journalist, Nicolo Schira, the Magpies have set their sights on the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Massimiliano Allegri to lead the new era.

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Whilst Pochettino certainly makes sense in terms of rebuilding this side, going after Allegri would quite simply be an insult to former Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.

The latter became known during his time at St James’ Park for digging out results, and not being afraid to put men behind the ball and concede possession for the vast majority of the game.

He became a real fans favourite on Tyneside, and whilst his defensive approach may not be everyone’s cup of tea, he got the team performing to its absolute maximum – a 2-1 home win over Manchester City back in January 2019 when the Magpies had just 24% of the possession was the epitome of that.

So if Newcastle are to contemplate going after a manager who is defensively sound, then Benitez should be the man, not Allegri.

The Italian is also well-renowned for being someone who puts keeping a clean sheet first, but quite simply wouldn’t arrive at St James’ Park with quite the same fanfare as Benitez.

And unlike the Spaniard, Allegri has had his struggles in European competitions, failing to win the Champions League title in his reign as Juventus manager, despite walking through Serie A. Benitez of course won European football’s showpiece trophy back with Liverpool, and also helped Chelsea lift the Europa League too.

So if the Magpies’ new owners want to appoint a manager who has European pedigree and has a keen eye for remaining defensively solid, then they should be looking at Benitez instead of Allegri.

His previous connection with the club means the Spaniard would already have a large share of goodwill with the supporters, and they will give him all the time to world to succeed, something that may not happen with an outsider like Allegri.

Appointing Allegri could be the Saudi consortium’s first major mistake at the club.