Unai Emery has held talks with Newcastle United over their managerial vacancy and is the leading candidate to take over at St James’ Park.
The former Arsenal head coach is currently managing Villarreal and it will take £5m worth of compensation to get him out of his current deal.
It is thought that while Emery is happy at Villarreal, he would be open to hearing what Newcastle have to say.
There is a feeling the 49-year-old has unfinished business in the Premier League since he was sacked by Arsenal in 2019.
Emery claimed on Monday that he knew nothing of any Newcastle interest.
Addressing questions about the vacant position before Villarreal’s Champions League clash with Young Boys, Emery said: “I don’t know anything about Newcastle.”
Newcastle want to have a manager in place by the weekend, ahead of their game away at Brighton.
Emery was appointed Villarreal manager in July 2020 and led them to the Europa League title last season, beating Manchester United on penalties in the final.
A source close to former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca has told Sky Sports News that, as it stands, it is unlikely the Portuguese will be appointed as Steve Bruce’s successor.
Lucien Favre, Eddie Howe and Roberto Martinez are other candidates that Newcastle remain interested in.
Bruce was relieved of his duties 13 days after the Saudi-Arabia backed £305m takeover of Newcastle last month following a poor run of form at the start of the season which culminated in a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham.
Graeme Jones has assumed caretaker charge and oversaw Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to league leaders Chelsea.
The Magpies remain winless in the Premier League after drawing four games and losing six of their 10 matches so far this term.
‘Newcastle want someone in quickly’
Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie…
“The favourite to take over from Steve Bruce, who was sacked two weeks ago, is Unai Emery.
“Things have moved on significantly since the weekend, that 3-0 defeat to Chelsea has made the owners realise they need to get someone in soon.
“Emery is currently under contract at Villarreal and it will take £5m worth of compensation to get him out of his current deal.
“Emery turns 50 on Wednesday so Newcastle will probably try and get some work done on his birthday and try and get him in before the weekend.
“There are others that Newcastle are still interested in should they not manage to land Emery, Roberto Martinez and Lucien Favre being two of them, but Emery is under serious consideration by the owners.”