Eddie Howe has taken over as Newcastle manager after 15 months without a job, spending his time out meeting prominent figures – including a trip to Liverpool.
It was confirmed at 3pm on Monday afternoon that Howe had taken the role turned down by Unai Emery, replacing Steve Bruce as manager at St James’ Park.
Between then and now, Howe had been linked with a host of high-profile roles, and was close to taking over as Celtic manager following the sacking of Neil Lennon earlier this year.
But he has now been confirmed as the man tasked with leading Newcastle into a new, monstrously and questionably rich era under the ownership of the Saudi royal family, signing a two-and-a-half-year deal.
It will be a difficult task for Howe on Tyneside, and the club’s shift from initial target Emery suggests there is a disconnect in their long-term planning.
He is certainly an impressive young manager, however, and has spent his time away from football honing his craft by way of meetings with a host of leading names in the sport.
According to the Telegraph, Howe took in sessions with Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid and Andoni Iraola at Rayo Vallecano, along with two days at Liverpool’s training ground in Kirkby.
There, he held talks with sporting director Michael Edwards – to discuss his approach to recruitment – and academy director Alex Inglethorpe.
Inglethorpe was questioned on “how the club have overhauled their structure over the past decade to a level that allows them to overcome financial drawbacks and consistently compete with Manchester City.”
Howe’s title at Newcastle is head coach, rather than manager, which suggests that he will not have a major role in either recruitment or youth development.
But his meetings with Edwards and Inglethorpe show a coach who is eager to develop his experience rather than rest on his laurels, having stagnated towards the end of his spell at Bournemouth.
Howe’s connection with Edwards goes back to their time together as player and analyst at Portsmouth, and given the sporting director’s contract at Liverpool expires in 2022, there could be concerns over a long-term linkup at Newcastle.