Antonio Conte's first two seasons as Newcastle United manager predicted

By Nathan Bliss & Lewis Barton

Current Italy manager Antonio Conte has recently been linked with the Newcastle United job amid reports of Steve Bruce being set to be sacked following the £300m takeover of the club.

Bruce will reportedly lose his job following the takeover, with the Magpies currently sitting in 19th in the Premier League as they remain without a win in seven league games, so it seems that Bruce 's time in charge of United will be coming to an end.

Conte has proven himself as one of the worlds best managers in recent times, with the Italian having put an end to Juventus' nine-year winning run with Inter Milan last season before leaving the club after a fallout with the owners over a potential downsizing of the squad due to financial issues.

Conte spent two years with Chelsea in the Premier League between 2016 and 2018, and the 52-year-old oversaw one Premier League trophy and an FA Cup as he revolutionised the Premier League with his 3-4-3 formation.

Conte is one of the favourites to take the Newcastle job should it become available, with Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, Lucien Favre and Frank Lampard also on a reported shortlist for the role.

So, if Bruce was to be sacked and Conte was to be appointed in his place, what would the outcome be?

To have a look, we simulated the remainder of this season and the entirety of the next in Football Manager 2021 with Conte in charge of Newcastle United.

Antonio Conte's first two seasons as Newcastle United manager simulated

To set up this simulation, we arranged for Conte to replace Steve Bruce at Newcastle United after seven Premier League games and simulated until the end of the 2022/23 season to see how the Italian manager performed.

We also edited the Football Manager 2021 game save file to update all transfers as of October 8, 2021. We also removed Mike Ashley as the club's owner, replaced him with the new ownership structure and made a number of changes, including setting the new owners as Sugar Daddy (foreground), which means they will back the club in the transfer market and increasing the club's reputation, allowing them to attract more high-profile players and managers.

This is Conte's in-game profile on Football Manager 2021.

Antonio Conte's Football Manager 2021 in-game profile (Football Manager 2021)

Conte boasts an extremely strong profile in FM21, with the manager having the maximum rating for determination and motivating, whilst he also has 19 out of 20 for mental and level of discipline.

His preferred formation is the 5-3-2 wide which is also the current formation used by Bruce at Newcastle, but Conte's pressing tactics and counter-attacking ability in the formation could enhance the current Magpies squad.

So, where did Newcastle finish in both of Conte's seasons? Let's take a look.

Newcastle's 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons under Conte

Newcastle finished 12th in the 21/22 season during the simulation (Football Manager 2021)

Conte helped the Magpies push up the table and avoid the drop in his first season at the club, claiming an impressive 12th placed finish in his first season in charge.

During the one and a half seasons simulated under Conte, the manager took advantage of the money available under the new owners and made some big signings to suit his system.

Antonio Conte spent £214m in his first transfer window at Newcastle United (Football Manager 2021)

Conte spent £214m in his first summer transfer window at Newcastle, with his most expensive signing being Duvan Zapata from Atalanta for £56m.

The Italian also signed Liverpool duo Joel Matip and Caoimhin Kelleher, Atletico Madrid's Kieran Trippier, Bayer Leverkusen's Moussa Diaby, Roma's Bryan Cristante, Sporting's Pedro Goncalves, Brighton's Adam Webster and Bristol City youngster Antoine Semenyo..

At the end of the 2022/23 season, Football Manager 2021 put together an overall best Newcastle XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics.

This is what the Magpies’ best XI looked like at the end of the 2022/23 season as predicted by Football Manager 2021.

Conte's best XI from his reign at Newcastle United in FM21 (Football Manager 2021)

Newcastle's best XI: Dubravka; Trippier, Matip, Lascelles, Webster, Lewis; Cristante, Shelvey, Goncalves; Wilson, Saint-Maximin.

After a positive end to the 2021/22 season and an extremely successful summer transfer window, things were looking up for Conte's Newcastle side. But the 2022/23 season did not go to plan for Newcastle nor Conte in the simulation, with the Italian manager being sacked after being just one place outside the relegation zone in March.

France national team manager Didier Deschamps was brought in a short-term contract, and the Frenchman maintained the Magpies position outside the relegation zone as they finished 16th in the Premier League.

Newcastle finished 16th in the 22/23 season during the simulation (Football Manager 2021)

The Toon registered 12 fewer points in the 2022/23 season than the campaign prior - scoring less goals but also conceding fewer.

The simulation predicted that with Newcastle's new owners and big ambition could come little patience with under-performing managers, hence the sacking of one of the world's best.

The improved squad and new play style did have a positive impact on some payers, however.

Newcastle's top scorers from the 2022/23 season (Football Manager 2021)

Wilson ended his campaign on 14 goals in 43 appearances, closely followed by Zapata who registered 12 in 33. Allan Saint-Maximin grabbed himself double-digits with 10 goals, and Goncalves managed five goals in his first season with the Magpies.

Overall, Football Manager 2021 predicts that Antonio Conte would have a great first season with Newcastle after replacing Steve Bruce, but after spending over £200m and overseeing an underwhelming 2022/23 season, he would be sacked as Newcastle just about survived the drop.

Maybe Conte isn't the manager for Newcastle United at this time, according to this simulation at least!

Do you think Antonio Conte would be a good appointment at Newcastle United? Let us know in the comments below!


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