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Newcastle United are still looking for a manager to replace Steve Bruce, with several names understood to be in the hat on Tyneside. The Magpies are keen to begin a new era on the pitch after the takeover led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund went through – and Wayne Rooney is one of the people under consideration for the top job.
New chairman Yasir al-Rumayyan, who represents 80 per cent shareholders PIF, and director Amanda Staveley were at St James’ Park for Sunday’s 3-2 defeat by Tottenham.
They, alongside Staveley’s husband and fellow representative of PCP Capital Partners, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, are leading the search for Bruce’s replacement.
According to The Times, their shortlist includes Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and Villarreal’s Unai Emery.
But Rooney is also in the picture and is interested in the role, due in part to the uncertainty of his current position at Derby County, reports The Chronicle.
The Rams are in administration and are rooted to the bottom of the Championship, meaning Rooney could be a realistic target for Newcastle’s new ownership group.
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If the former Manchester United striker does take over, he is understood to be keen to bring in ex-Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given as a coach – and that might not be the only way Rooney uses his contact book.
One of the benefits of hiring Rooney would be his strong connections to his former clubs, which would prove useful in the upcoming transfer windows.
Rooney could immediately look to Old Trafford upon his arrival, with a move for Jesse Lingard on the cards in the January transfer window.
Lingard remains on the fringes of the first team under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but showed in a loan spell at West Ham last season just how impactful he can be if given the opportunity.
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The 28-year-old midfielder scored nine goals in 16 appearances for the Hammers and is set to be out of contract in June 2022.
All six of his appearances in the Premier League and Champions League this season have come off the bench, so Lingard could well be seeking a club who will guarantee him the game time he needs to stay in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Rooney played alongside Lingard at United and is known to be a big fan. If there is anyone who can convince the midfielder to leave his boyhood club, it’s Rooney.
The United links might not end there, either, because the club have another midfielder who is crying out for opportunities.
Donny van de Beek has cut a hugely frustrated figure on the United bench this season and has been frequently linked with other clubs.
Despite being fully fit, he has played only five minutes in the league in 2021/22 and has just three appearances to his name altogether.
Newcastle are desperate for midfielders who are of higher quality than the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, the Longstaff brothers and Jeff Hendrick.
Van de Beek showed all his qualities at Ajax and just needs a fresh start under a manager who believes in him and can give him the arm-around-the-shoulder treatment. Newcastle under Rooney could be that environment.
That’s central midfield sorted but Rooney’s arrival on Tyneside could benefit from a player Newcastle fans love – and a nod to better times.
Hatem Ben Arfa, who was a fan-favourite with the Toon between 2010 and 2015, is currently a free agent after being released by Bordeaux over the summer so they wouldn’t need to wait until January to sign him.
The French winger is now 34 years old, but contributed 14 goals and 15 assists in 86 games at Newcastle and would be a lot of fun operating on the opposite flank to Allan Saint-Maximin.
At the start of the month Foot Mercato quoted ‘a source close to the player’ as saying: “For now, he takes his time and continues to train while waiting for a good project. Anyway, he is free, so he can engage wherever he wants and very quickly.”
The new ownership could be onto a quick win by signing Ben Arfa when the new manager touches down.
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