Patrick Vieira emerges as contender for Newcastle job

Steve McClaren also on club’s shortlist

Patrick Vieira

has emerged as a surprise contender to take charge of Newcastle United but Steve McClaren remains on the club’s shortlist, and the former England coach’s candidature retains strong support in certain quarters of St James’ Park.

McClaren is a free agent after being sacked by Derby County this month and extremely interested in succeeding John Carver on Tyneside. But Lee Charnley, Newcastle's managing director, is scheduled to meet Vieira early this week.

Charnley would ideally like to be in a position to name the new manager by Friday but is determined to undertake full due diligence on all candidates on what is understood to be a three-man shortlist topped by McClaren and Vieira.


Vieira is effectively available because the former Arsenal and France midfielder is at the end of his deal as Manchester City’s under-21 coach and City are still to offer him an extension.

Francophone dressing room

Although the 39-year-old lacks frontline managerial experience he is highly rated at the Etihad Stadium and would excite Newcastle fans while appealing to the team’s heavily Francophone dressing room.

Two years ago Vieira said St James’ Park was a favourite ground of his but the depth of his interest in taking over on Tyneside remains opaque. With the Frenchman’s camp apparently leaking details of the impending meeting with Charnley suspicions were immediately raised that Newcastle could be being used as pawns in a political game at City, where Vieira is said to harbour ambitions to eventually succeed Manuel Pellegrini as manager.

Relegation skirmish

A character in Vieira’s strong-willed mode is what Newcastle need but it appears unclear as to how such a potentially challenging figure would fit into Mike Ashley’s hitherto ultra-conformist regime.

After presiding over a relegation skirmish Carver has been told his interim head coach’s contract will not be extended but Pardew’s former sidekick is expected to revert to his old assistant manager’s role next season. Vieira is due to complete the pro licence qualification now mandatory for all Premier League managers next month, but McClaren is considerably more experienced.

Whether or not McClaren receives a phone call inviting him to advanced talks, Charnley is won over by Vieira or a “third man” emerges from left field, Newcastle’s desire to sign six new players this summer means the mission to replace Carver has assumed a degree of urgency. Guardian Service