Danny Mills has claimed that Mike Ashley’s “only concern” in the hunt for the next Newcastle boss will be looking for someone who can guide the club to Premier League survival next season.
The Magpies are looking for a new manager after it was confirmed on Monday afternoon that Rafael Benitez will leave St James’ Park on Sunday, having been unable to thrash out an agreement with the hierarchy over an extension.
Speaking to Football Insider, Sky Sports pundit Mills said that there will be nothing but staying in the Premier League on Magpies owner Ashley’s mind throughout the current recruitment process.
“As we’ve seen from the past, sometimes Mike Ashley just makes the decision and that’s it, done and dusted,” the pundit said.
“Mike Ashley will appoint the manager that he thinks is right to keep them in the Premier League next season. That’s all he looks at, surviving in the Premier League. That makes it attractive if it’s going to be sold and at the right price. That will be his only concern.”
You would have to say that Mills is exactly right here. Ashley seems intent on selling Newcastle and, to do that, you would think that staying in the Premier League is the one thing they have to do to keep on attracting potential suitors such as the Bin Zayed Group. If the Magpies drop down to the Championship again, there is little chance of an attractive buyer coming in, if one comes in at all. The Premier League is a different kettle of fish, financially, than the second tier, and so it is imperative that the club remains where they are. As for how that leaves the manager search, Ashley will surely be happy with someone who can just maintain their level, rather than take them forward. Whoever they get, it will be interesting to see how they perform next season, as it is a crucial campaign in the top flight for Newcastle.