Manager’s leaving his club, but he’s not joining Newcastle

Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images

Xavi will be missed at Al Sadd but it looks as though one of Newcastle United’s top manager targets is trying to force a move to Barcelona instead, club captain Abdelkarim Hassan has told 

According to Spanish football oracle Guillem Balague, Unai Emery walked away from the chance to take over on Tyneside after being spooked by what he viewed as a lack of clear vision or short-term planning by the owners.  

The fact Newcastle appeared to have narrowed their managerial search to two – very different – men perhaps spoke volumes?









On one hand, you’ve got Emery – a serial trophy winner who has spent much of the past decade operating at the highest level.

On the other, you’ve got Eddie Howe – a team builder who was relegated with Bournemouth.

According to the BBC, Newcastle also made approaches for Antonio Conte, now of Tottenham Hotspur, as well as veteran World champion Joachim Low and the up-and-coming Xavi. 

Lucien Favre (64) has also been linked, as has 43-year-old Frank Lampard. 

So what is it Newcastle want? Experience or youthful exuberance? An exciting, up-and-coming tactician or a steady pair of hands? We don’t know. Neither, it seems, do Newcastle’s bosses.

Who will be Newcastle’s new manager after Xavi and Emery say no?

Speaking last night, Xavi confirmed his intention to leave Qatari Stars League champions Al Sadd, although it seems for all the world as though Barcelona – rather than St James’ Park – will be his destination. 

“I’ve been talking to Barca for days,” said Blaugrana legend Xavi. “We are all eager and excited. We’ll see if it ends up being done. 

“I really want to go home – I hope it happens. I have a contract and now the clubs have to negotiate. They already know my position.”

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Xavi guided Al Sadd to seven trophies in just two years in the Middle East while instilling the kind of free-flowing, pretty-passing football that wouldn’t look out of place at Camp Nou. 

“Everyone is sad because of Xavi’s departure – but he will coach a big team like Barcelona,” said skipper Hassan. 

“Xavi presented a new idea to Qatari football and Al Sadd players and helped us as a great player and coach. His ideas led us to achieve a lot – despite the criticism. We will miss him a lot.”

Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images

In other news, Ian Wright says one West Ham man who used to be ‘jittery’ now ‘looks amazing’

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