Mega-rich Newcastle ‘target Graham Potter to replace under-fire Steve Bruce’ after strong start to the season with Brighton… but Antonio Conte ‘has ruled himself OUT of taking charge’
- Brighton are currently sixth – just two points behind table-toppers Chelsea
- Graham Potter has been praised for turning the team’s fortunes around
- Newcastle now have the world’s richest owners after Thursday’s takeover
- Steve Bruce has admitted that his days at St James’ Park appear to be numbered
- Paulo Fonseca and Steve Gerrard are other big names to be linked with the role
- The Magpies sit 19th with the joint-worst defence – and no wins to their name
Graham Potter is reportedly one of the contenders in the frame to succeed Steve Bruce at Newcastle.
The Brighton boss, whose side currently sit just two points off Premier League table-toppers Chelsea, has been widely praised for implementing an attractive brand of football at the Amex.
He has maintained a strong defensive unit since taking over from Chris Hughton in May 2019, with results starting to match performances after 15th and 16th-placed finishes in the last two campaigns.
Graham Potter’s Brighton side have been the Premier League’s surprise package this season
Now Newcastle’s new backers are thought to have included Potter on a managerial shortlist
The Magpies have enjoyed a surreal few days since a Saudi-led consortium bought the club from deeply unpopular owner Mike Ashley for more than £300million and the new hierarchy are now thought to be drawing up a list of targets to succeed current manager Bruce, with Potter among those being considered, according to The Sun.
Newcastle – who are now the world’s richest club – are currently languishing in the relegation zone and are still searching for their first win this season, with Bruce admitting on the day of the takeover that he fears his time at St James’ Park is over.
However, minority shareholder Amanda Staveley did not publicly confirm that a managerial change would take place after holding a meeting with him.
Former Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte is said to have ruled himself out of the running after being linked with the job, while Paulo Fonseca and Steven Gerrard have also been mentioned in connection with the role.
The Seagulls are currently sixth in the table and are two points behind table-toppers Chelsea
It could prove difficult to lure Potter away from the south coast though as he has a contract until 2025 at Brighton, who sit sixth in the table and have the third-best defence in the division after Thomas Tuchel’s men and Manchester City.
Bruce has been heavily criticised by large sections of the Toon Army for much of his tenure since replacing Rafa Benitez in the summer of 2019.
The possession-light style of football has bored supporters and an unexpected rich vein of form towards the back end of last season temporarily masked the failings of a side that have just three points to their name this term and have conceded 16 league goals – the joint-highest in the division.
On Tuesday, two days before the takeover was completed, the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) called on Bruce to resign and want the club to take swift action in dismissing him if he does not heed their request.
Steve Bruce admitted on the day of the takeover that he feared his time at the club is over
Newcastle are 19th in the table with three points to their name – and no wins so far this term
Jubilant Magpies fans wanted new owners – now they want Bruce’s successor to be found
A statement read: ‘We asked our members if they believed Steve Bruce should resign in the best interests of Newcastle United, and from over 5,000 responses, a resounding 94.3 per cent said yes.
‘The board of NUST strongly encourages Newcastle United and manager Steve Bruce to listen to the fans. The discontent among our fanbase is completely justified.
‘Fan optimism is at a serious low and Newcastle United is in serious danger of being relegated for a third time under the current owner.’
After hailing the arrival of the new backers, the NUST and many Newcastle supporters will hope a change in the hotseat will soon follow suit.
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