Merson urges Newcastle to bring back fan favourite

Date published: Saturday 30th October 2021 11:01 - Dan Butterfield

Paul Merson Arsenal Chelsea

Paul Merson has told Newcastle to stay away from Paulo Fonseca as the clubs new manager and return to someone who is ‘popular with the fans’ on Tyneside.

Rumours have circulated around a number of different managers since the club took the decision to sack Steve Bruce after a poor start to the season.

Former Roma manager Fonseca has been tipped as the favourite for the vacant managerial position as the clubs mega-rich owners look to start a new era at St James’ Park.

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The Saudi Public Investment Fund completed their takeover of the club from Mike Ashley earlier this month, making Newcastle now the richest club in world football.

Fonseca is not the only name to be linked with the likes of Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Gennaro Gattuso and Lucian Favre have all been linked with the job but former Arsenal man Merson has urged the club to appoint Rafa Benitez.

Benitez managed the Magpies between 2016 and 2019, initially unable to help them beat relegation, the Spaniard got the club promoted at the first time of asking before solidifying their Premier League status.

The ex-Liverpool boss is currently in charge at Everton, joining in the summer.

Now, speaking in his Daily Star column, Merson has tipped the Newcastle hierarchy to appoint their former boss.

“I’ve said before. They are in trouble. They need a firefighter who knows the league and can keep them up – and Benitez would do that.

“They’re talking about Paulo Fonseca? Wow. He just got the sack for Jose Mourinho. How long would it take him to get to know the players and the league?

“Benitez knows them all already – and is massively popular with the fans.

“If you’re the new owners and you’ve got all the money in the world and you want to listen to the fans, just go to Everton and offer them loads of money for Benitez.

“You need the fans on your side or you’ve got no chance. Get Rafa back. Give him a long contract and go from there.

“He won’t be trying to entertain but he will make sure they get results. That’s what they need. They need to stay up!

“Newcastle won’t be making big name signings in January. But if they stay up they can start to build for next season because Rafa can get big players in.”


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