After the unwanted news regarding the departure of Rafa Benitez from Newcastle United, the conversation must turn – reluctantly – to just who will replace our hero.
Names seem to have been thrown around from anywhere and everywhere, with agents, out of work managers and questionable media outlets putting names forward for the job.
But from the raft of wannabes that have been suggested, a few names have consistently remained, and with the reliable journalists reporting the same names, it is fair to say that those names are the ones with substance.
The likes of Steven Gerrard, Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta have been mentioned as on a shortlist, while Porto’s Sergio Conceicao is a more recent addition to those.
While other names like Giovanni van Bronckhurst, Eddie Howe and Sean Dyche have been touted, they seem less likely to be approached, for a variety of reasons.
Most fans have different opinions over who should get the job, with the likely preference being a return by Rafa Benitez under new owners.
But with that not imminent, or likely, these are the names the Geordie Boot Boys writers would like to see:
Despite thinking Steven Gerrard would be a fantastic appointment, I do not think it is realistic at the present time, so Patrick Vieira is my preference.
A leader and general on the pitch at Arsenal, he is likely to be the same as a manager. He would command the respect of every player in the dressing room, and knows exactly what it takes to be successful in the Premier League.
Add to that, the things he is sure to have picked up from Arsene Wenger at the Gunners, and I think he has what it takes to do well on Tyneside.
While Vieira is my number one choice, Sergio Conceicao intrigues me too, and his record in Portugal has been superb, so he would also be a good option.
I’d go with Mikel Arteta. He’s probably the most exciting option out of the realistic candidates. Talk of Mourinho or Wenger is futile unless a takeover happens, and even then it’s a stretch.
Arteta nearly got the Arsenal job last year, so he must be doing something right. And he’s learnt from the best, working under Pep Guardiola for the past three years.
He’d surely bring a nice brand of football, and he’d please the Spanish contingent already at the club.
FC Porto seems to be a breeding ground for top level managers these days, and I’d love to see Newcastle go for their current coach Sergio Conceicao.
For me, he’s probably one of the better experienced candidates. He led Porto to their first league title in five years last summer, and his win ratio for the side over the past two seasons is even better than club legend Jose Mourinho.
But what excites me most about Conciecao is that he’s also proven to be something of a miracle worker when down at the bottom of the table. In December 2016, the Portuguese coach joined French side Nantes, who sat second from bottom in Ligue 1 and were favourites for relegation.
By the end of the season, they’d finished 7th and were unlucky to miss out on a spot in Europe. That is, frankly, the kind of miracle the Toon are going to need after what’s surely going to be a miserable summer.
With any luck he’d be the next Nuno Espirito Santo, but at this point I’d probably take the next Andre Villas-Boas if it meant anyone other than Mark Hughes.