According to the Sun, Belgium national manager Roberto Martinez is a target for Newcastle United following the departure of Rafa Benitez upon the expiration of his contract at the end of June.
Regardless of who was at fault for Benitez’s exit – with reports in the Mirror suggesting Mike Ashley believes the blame lies upon potential new owner Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan – the fact of the matter is that he’s gone and it’s up to the current regime to bring in a new boss.
Indeed, Martinez is now enjoying his third year in charge of the Red Devils and he has a contract that runs until 2022 but the report claims that the Belgian FA are ‘fearing the worst’ as Ashley is desperate to appoint a manager with experience of either playing or managing in the English top flight.
So, with Ashley thought to be looking at bringing in a manager who has experience of managing at the highest level of English football, Martinez does fit the bill, having racked up 435 games, Transfermarkt, during spells with Swansea, Wigan and Everton.
Despite finishing clear of the relegation zone during the last two seasons, the fact that bookmakers Paddy Power have already paid out on the Tyneside giants being relegated in the 2019/20 campaign would suggest that not too many people fancy Newcastle’s chances. Well, while there were question marks raised against the former Swansea boss upon his sacking at Everton, he did manage to keep Wigan up for a few seasons prior to their eventual relegation.
Indeed, the Spaniard faced an uphill task going into the final stretch of the 2011/12 season but won seven of his last nine games including wins against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United to finish 15th, as per the BBC.
Sky Sports analyst Adam Bate wrote of Martinez’s ability to introduce an expansive style to Everton after the departure of David Moyes and, while that does bring obvious risks in terms of defending, perhaps that kind of attacking football could help appease a fan base who protested outside of St. James’ Park after Benitez’s exit.
After his Belgium side beat Brazil in the World Cup quarter-final in Russia last year, Martinez spoke (via Goal) of how his side refused to be broken down by the Selecao which would suggest an evolution to a more balanced style in recent years, so does appear to have more facets to his game than before.
At times during Benitez’s stint on Tyneside, there were murmurs that the side were too cautious (the former Liverpool coach spoke of this with the Chronicle in 2017), so a change in style (albeit a balanced one) might be an interesting idea.
Fitting the criteria in terms of Premier League criteria and someone who looks to have developed as a coach in recent years, Martinez does look like a good fit for Newcastle United.
Newcastle fans, would you be happy with Martinez next season? Let us know and comment below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!