Ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is Newcastle’s prospective new owners’ number one choice to take charge at St James’ Park from next season.
Former boss Rafael Benitez is understood to be a backup option if a deal for Pochettino goes through, but the new owners, a Saudi-backed consortium, is willing to pay Pochettino as much as £19m annually.
Pochettino, out of work since last November, is understood to be keen on a return to the Premier League.
Newcastle’s prospective owners are impressed by the work that Pochettino did at Tottenham, taking them to the 2019 Champions League final after a five-year rebuild of the North London club.
Former Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez is also reported to be in the mix but his £12m-a-year after tax contract in China means that they’ll have to fork out even more than the proposed figure for Pochettino, who would only earn roughly £10m after-tax annually.
Five months after leaving Spurs, Pochettino and his backroom staff remain on gardening leave, with the Argentinian reportedly being paid his £8.5m a year (gross) wages.
In more Newcastle news, the club is close to sealing a deal for Boubacary Soumare from Ligue 1 side Lille.
The English side has surged ahead of rivals Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid with the anticipated windfall from takeover tilting the race.
It is also understood that Soumare prefers to join Newcastle as it offers the best chance of regular football.
The French midfielder had in January rejected a £35 million move to Newcastle as he awaited for a bigger club to approach but it now appears that he is receptive for a move to St. James Park.