Steve Bruce to be sacked as Newcastle United manager next week following Saudi takeover

By Neil Moxley

Steve Bruce’s reign as Newcastle United’s manager will end this week.

The club’s new Saudi owners will axe the 60-year-old in what will be the first major decision in re-shaping the Tyneside club.

A collective agreement has been reached by the hierarchy that the Magpies need a fresh direction - and the current boss will learn his fate in the next few days.

That move means Graeme Jones will be in the dug-out for next week’s sell-out clash against Spurs.

The club’s assistant coach will step up into the role of caretaker - in all likelihood for the next few weeks as Newcastle crank up their search for a replacement.

Newcastle's loss to Wolves last weekend will be Bruce's last game in charge of his boyhood club (Wolves via Getty Images)

The club is expected to be inundated with applications and several approaches have already been fielded.

A few names have already been the subject of speculation but stories suggesting Italian pair Antonio Conte and Roberto Mancini could be set for a return to the Premier League are wide of the mark.

Zinedine Zidane’s name has also been mentioned as a possibility but there appears to be little appetite either to appoint the former Real Madrid chief to the up-coming vacancy.

One problem that the decision-makers have been confronted with this week has been the speed with which the takeover went through.

Lists of players and managers have been compiled and then re-drawn due to inevitable changes in the footballing landscape while the new owners waited for a decision in their favour during the past four years in which they have been plotting this deal.

But the pace at which the events of the past few days have unfolded means that while Bruce’s exit is a formality, there was no-one immediately lined-up to take over.

For a long time, Rafa Benitez was a prime candidate to make a sensation return but the Spaniard’s desire to take control at Everton has scuppered those plans.

Assistant Coach Graeme Jones is set to take temporary charge (Newcastle United via Getty Images)

The news of Bruce’s axing will be warmly received by the Toon Army but the former Manchester United double-winner will have been expecting the worst when the Saudi-led consortium assumed control on Thursday evening.

The new owners have to take over the contracts of all employees at the club - and that includes the Geordie who will expect to have his deal paid up in full.

He will leave with his head held high at retaining the club’s top-flight status against a difficult backdrop with previous owner Mike Ashley nowhere to be seen during a winless start to the campaign.

Bruce had agreed a contract where his compensation depended on how long he remained in charge and the suggested £8m pay-out should help heal the wounds of his exit.

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