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Newcastle contact Zidane to replace Steve Bruce

Newcastle's new billionaire Saudi owners aim to build a new mega-project at St. James' Park and want a coach of Zinedine Zidane’s calibre at the helm.

Zinedine Zidane
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce Getty Images

The only coach to have won three consecutive Champions League titles, Zinedine Zidane has been out of work since his departure from Real Madrid at the end of last season. And should the Frenchman decide to return to the coach’s bench, he certainly won’t have a shortage of offers.

In fact, according to the reports in the UK, Zidane has received an offer from Newcastle United. The English club’s new billionaire Saudi owners aim to build a mega project at St. James' Park and want a coach of Zidane’s calibre at the helm as they look to build a team capable of battling for the Premier League.

However, the possibility of seeing Zidane at St. James’ Park seems very unlikely. The former Real Madrid coach is not seduced by big-money mega-projects of this type and only has his mind on two destinations: the French national team and Juventus.

Saudi ruler new Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of chief Newcastle United owners PIF.
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Saudi ruler new Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of chief Newcastle United owners PIF.

The Frenchman will not be the first manager to decline the opportunity to lead the Saudi project, which is having trouble finding a high-profile coach to replace the incumbent Steve Bruce. The first to reject an offer from Newcastle was Brendan Rodgers, the first wish of the new board, as he is focused on Leicester and awaiting the chance to take over from Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Antonio Conte, among others, has also been contacted but the Italian coach also turned down the offer. According to UK press reports, Lampard is now the favoured option following the rejections of Conte and Rodgers.

When Newcastle turned down chance to sign Zidane

It’s not the first time that Zidane has been linked to Newcastle. In 1996, the then 24-year-old footballer was looking to leave Bordeaux and was offered to the Magpies by agent Barry Silkman for a mere £1.2 million.

However then-Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan turned down the offer to sign the young midfielder, who went on to become a World Cup winner in 1998 and one of the greatest footballers of his generation.

Newcastle’s rejection came a year after Blackburn turned down the chance to sign Zidane after they had won the 1995 Premier League title under the captaincy of Tim Sherwood. “Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?” was reportedly what Blackburn owner Jack Walker said of the deal.

Time, of course, would provide an endless string of answers to Walker's question, as Zidane and Sherwood's respective careers went on to take very different trajectories.


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