Newcastle fans 'paying tribute' to Saudi owners says reporter
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Newcastle United may have been handed a welcome boost to their January transfer plans after Ronald Koeman was finally given his marching orders by Barcelona on Wednesday evening. The Dutchman had seemingly been on the brink for weeks, and his lucrative severance package is perhaps one factor as to why he held on so long.
A humiliating loss to Rayo Vallecano was their second in a row after defeat to bitter rivals Real Madrid last weekend.
Fans attacked Koeman’s car after their El Clasico humbling, and with no signs pointing towards an upturn in relations or form, the Dutchman was finally given the axe.
Xavi is reportedly in talks to be drafted in from Qatar to take charge of the club he starred for as a player, in what is sure to be an expensive process for the Catalan side.
That much is certain in light of Koeman’s reported £10million severance package, which is far from ideal for a club in over £1billion worth of debt.
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The same financial woes forced Lionel Messi’s tearful departure during the summer, while Antoine Griezmann was also sold to free up space on the wage bill.
One is left to wonder what impact this will have on the future of flying winger Ousmane Dembele, who is reportedly asking for a pay rise at the Camp Nou.
Fulfilling that demand will surely be out of reach for Barca, given the 24-year-old is supposedly pocketing over £200,000-a-week already.
Problems on the horizon would be a welcome sight for Newcastle, who are reportedly among a host of top European sides set to throw their hat into the ring with regard to Dembele’s signature.
According to FootMercato, the Magpies have already discussed the prospect of blowing Barca’s current pay package out of the water.
Even better for Newcastle is the notion that he could soon be available for free given that his current deal is set to expire in less than a year.
If the club’s new Saudi-backed owners are keen to jump the gun and secure his services in January, he could still be available on a cut-price deal given how soon his contract will run out.
In light of Koeman’s pricey pay-off and Barca’s mounting debt, they may also be under pressure to accept any sensible offer from the Magpies.
While the stars seem to be aligning for an audacious swoop on Tyneside, they are still yet to appoint a manager or a sporting director.
After parting company with Steve Bruce last week, Graeme Jones has been placed in temporary charge.
Paulo Fonseca still seems the most likely option to take the reins on a permanent basis, although no concrete decision has been taken yet, and the position of transfer chief is still vacant too.
As such, the next step for Amanda Staveley and co. may be to fill those positions so they can begin putting together a bid for the Barcelona star.
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