Date: 28th June 2019 at 11:00am
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Nice manager Patrick Vieira would be the “perfect” replacement for Rafael Benitez at Newcastle, according to two-time Ashes winner and Magpies fanatic Steve Harmison.

The Tyneside club are on the lookout for a new manager after Benitez and owner Mike Ashley failed to reach an agreement over an extension to the former’s contract, which expires on Sunday.

Speaking on talkSPORT‘s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast [Friday, 9:20am], Harmison warned, however, that ex-Arsenal legend Vieira might not adapt well to the financial restrictions that would likely be placed on him by Ashley.

“Vieira would be perfect, but would he want to work under Mike Ashley and the way the club is structured, I’m not so sure,” the 40-year-old said.

“I’m not so sure that a name like that, who is out there, – they might just be chucking their name out there to say ‘Look, I’m available’, not just for Newcastle but for anybody.

“I think when they have the talks and they say how much they’ve got to spend and who they can spend it on, those talks might break down.

“And Newcastle could end up being in a vulnerable position with it being left with somebody that nobody really wants, to be fair.”


Harmison makes a great point here – the way Mike Ashley works at Newcastle is likely to be a massive factor in deciding whether a certain candidate takes the job or not. Just look at Rafael Benitez. Ashley’s financial restrictions put paid to any hope of the Spaniard staying, so the warning signs are there from the off. Whoever is interested in the Magpies job must think very carefully about whether they are prepared to work under such restrictions. Whoever is eventually employed is unlikely to be given a large budget to work with, and the worrying thing is that this squad needs significant investment. Therefore, you would think that a large bulk of the kitty will come from player sales. It’s a fine balance having to raise funds this way, since you ideally want to immediately replace the players you lose with new ones. But that is far easier said than done. Overall, while Vieira will definitely be considered by Newcastle, the manager himself will likely be considering his options too.