Within hours of the Saudi Arabia-led takeover of Newcastle United being completed, Steve Bruce admitted he now fears for his job. Unpopular from the moment he was appointed at St James’ Park two years ago, the new owners would instantly gain approval from their new fans by sending the 60-year-old packing.
However, a frontrunner to replace Bruce has yet to emerge. Antonio Conte has been mentioned, but the Italian might not wish to take on such a challenging rebuild at this stage of his career. Roberto Martinez is another possibility, but Barcelona appears to be a more likely destination for him should he depart his post as Belgium boss.
Graham Potter, Eddie Howe and Zinedine Zidane are also included on many odds lists, but one name stands out as the most complete candidate - Steven Gerrard. If Newcastle United are looking for a realistic managerial target who can both help them in the short-term and build for the future, the former Liverpool midfielder could fit the bill.
Bruce the 'fall guy' amid Newcastle takeover, says manager's son
- Five players Newcastle United could sign in January transfer window after Saudi Arabia-backed takeover
- Newcastle next manager - Five contenders for the job after Saudi-backed takeover with Steve Bruce under threat
At Rangers, Gerrard has achieved everything that has been asked of him and more. The Ibrox club have been restored as Scottish football’s dominant force under the 41-year-old’s charge while Gerrard has proved himself as much more than just a big name. He is a very good coach.
Indeed, Rangers are a well-organised side with clear tactical principles baked into their structure. This structure has served them well in Europe, where Gerrard’s team made the last 16 of the Europa League last season after wins over Galatasaray, Standard Liege, Lech Poznan and Antwerp as well as draws home and away to Benfica.
The full backs are key to the way Gerrard’s team find width with the central midfield unit used to control matches. So much of what the former midfielder has built at Rangers is founded on a solid defence - Rangers kept an astonishing 25 clean sheets in 38 Scottish Premiership fixtures last season.
While Newcastle United surely have lofty ambitions of challenging for major honours and playing in the Champions League in the future, their immediate aim must be to avoid relegation. Gerrard’s compact approach would help the Magpies do that and give them a platform to build on.
Gerrard is a maximiser of talent and knows how to work under a Director of Football-type figure, someone Newcastle United will surely look to hire. What’s more, the former England captain has the sort of aura that will help the Magpies attract players in the early days of the new era at St James’ Park. Players want to play with Gerrard - Rangers have benefited from this.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard
Image credit: Getty Images
There would be certain conditions Newcastle would need to meet to get the best out of Gerrard. They would need to take the 41-year-old coaching team with him to the north-east with Gary McAllister and most notably Michael Beale, widely seen as the brains behind the Rangers operation, important allies.
Newcastle United would also have to accept the reality that Gerrard would see another Premier League job as his managerial dream. The former Liverpool skipper has been open about his desire to be manager at Anfield one day and so it’s possible the Magpies would lose their manager to Merseyside further down the line.
Nothing Gerrard has said recently suggests he is in any rush to move on from Rangers, but the opportunity to take over at a newly-rich Premier League club with the stature of Newcastle United might not arise again. The best managers are able to carefully plot a course through their career and St James’ Park might be the perfect destination for Gerrard, and Gerrard might be the perfect man to take over at St James’ Park.
Parker: Rodgers to Newcastle feasible as Gerrard is already at a bigger club
Conte in? Newcastle's next manager contenders after Saudi-backed takeover