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Unai Emery one of two final candidates for Newcastle United

Europa League history maker has been targeted by the Saudi State to lead their project.

Arsenal FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

As we all know, Saudi Arabia has an abysmal human rights record. One of the ways they try to distract from that is their Public Investment Fund, which not only makes money for the crown but also puts their name on projects all over the world. Newcastle United is the new darling of the PIF, and with the club in a relegation battle, no time will be wasted nor expense spared in trying to right the ship.

This has led to an immediate search for a new manager and as we talked about yesterday, Unai Emery is the leading target. The other name being tossed about is probably equally surprising, and that is former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.

What is fascinating about both of these names is that they will be coming to Newcastle from positions where they had a lot of power. At Bournemouth, Howe was lord of the manor, directing the entire culture of the club. Emery, reportedly, has more control at VIllarreal than his predecessors have received. Both like having that level of control as part of their methods for seeking results, but will the PIF give it to them?

Neither of these names really make much sense to me. The Saudi government- through the PIF- has more money than any other football ownership group on the planet by a very very wide distance. They will be wanting big name players and electric football, and that’s just not what Emery and Howe are made for. Many of these exorbitant money football options start out by just throwing piles of cash at the problem- see Chelsea, PSG, and Manchester City in the early ears of their current owners- and these two names seem to be both an attempt to avoid that problem while also still falling victim to it at the same time.

For whatever it’s worth, when asked about Newcastle United today, Unai Emery said he didn’t know anything.