Newcastle chief Amanda Staveley’s bold request puts Ousmane Dembele chase in jeopardy

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Newcastle chief Amanda Staveley made a bold call on Friday by putting Graeme Jones in interim charge of the club, allegedly for the next two games. With no permanent manager or sporting director appointed to guide the Magpies’ exciting new project, transfer plans are still on hold with the January window looming just around the corner and targets like Ousmane Dembele hanging in the balance.

The Toon parted company with Steve Bruce this week after the Geordie oversaw a 3-2 defeat by Tottenham, an upsetting way to cap off his 1000th game in management.

While plenty of high-profile names have been banded about, Staveley turned to Jones, one of Bruce’s backroom team, to guide them through the next two matches.

Ex-Roma boss Paulo Fonseca reportedly ‘impressed’ the club’s part-owner during a recent interview, although the Newcastle board are clearly taking their time over a big decision.

As well as the Portuguese, names like Frank Lampard, Eddie Howe and Lucien Favre are still in the running to take the reins on Tyneside.

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While taking their time over such a big decision seems sensible, it could also cause them to miss out on a key transfer target.

According to 90min, a host of top European clubs are already swarming around Dembele whose Barcelona contract expires in 2022.

The door has been thrust wide open by the Catalan side after they supposedly proposed that he took a pay-cut, when the player himself is believed to want a wage increase.

Newcastle’s newfound wealth would certainly put them in the mix to satisfy his demand, but their lack of appointments in key positions are delaying the start of concrete negotiations.

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While the Magpies watch on from the side-lines with a temporary boss in charge, the likes of Liverpool, PSG and Bayern Munich are all reportedly courting the Frenchman ahead of January negotiations.

Due to Dembele’s current deal, January talks would be focused on establishing a pre-contract agreement ahead of a free summer move.

Which club the 24-year-old chooses therefore depends on who delivers the best pitch, and the Newcastle boardroom arriving late to the party certainly would not help in that regard. 

Dembele’s Barcelona career has been blighted by injuries, but his colossal £136million price-tag back in 2017 is a testament to how highly he is thought of.

When a player of that calibre could soon be available for nothing, it is only natural that a host of clubs with pulling power throw their hats into the ring.

The Magpies now find themselves in that category, and with an injury-free run, Dembele could be the statement signing their new owners crave.

If they want to make the aspiration a reality, moving swiftly to appoint a manager and sporting director seems like a sensible course of action.

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