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Newcastle United close in on new sporting director: A closer look at some of the top candidates

Newcastle United are closing in on the appointment of a new sporting director to replace departing Dan Ashworth.

The search for a new footballing supremo on Tyneside is being led by recruitment specialists Odgers Berndtson and the hope is an appointment will be made in time for the summer transfer window opening. Eddie Howe and head of recruitment Steve Nickson have led transfer business in the absence of Ashworth who is now on gardening leave.

Here we take a look at some of the leading candidates for the job:

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Tiago Pinto

The former AS Roma and Benfica supremo would be a coup for Newcastle after being the driving force behind the organisation which guided the Serie A club to the Europa Conference League title in 2022 and the Europa League final in 2023.

But Pinto’s work goes beyond first-team focus with the Portuguese technical director looking deeply into the academy set-up, the medical department, the women’s teams and the club’s well-being in general. Roma chiefs Dan and Ryan Friedkin said on his exit from the club: “We would like to thank Tiago for his tireless commitment to the entire organisation since day one, from the Men’s First Team to the Youth Academy and the Women’s Department.”

If Newcastle are looking for somebody with a proven track record as sporting director, and somebody with the ability to look at the situation with fresh eyes, Pinto is a superb choice and would be a hit with supporters.

Paul Mitchell

Stalybridge-born Mitchell boasts an impressive CV that included stints with MK Dons, Southampton as head of scouting, Tottenham Hotspur as youth team recruitment guru and stints with RB Leipzig, New York Red Bulls and Monaco. As a professional footballer he starred for Wigan, Swindon and MK Dons before getting into the recruitment game.

Previous transfer success stories include Kieran Trippier while at Spurs, Christopher Nkunku when at Leipzig and Toby Alderweireld at Southampton and Spurs.

Rui Pedro Braz

The 45-year-old is currently the sports director at Benfica – a role he has held since 2022. When he joined the club in 2021, Braz was appointed general director following a ten-year stint working in television for the Portuguese network TVI.

Braz may have previously worked as a commentator and football analyst on television but he is well-educated and holds a degree in social communication, a master’s in communication and leadership and an MBA in sports management.

Hugo Viana

The ex-Newcastle winger needs no introduction to the Toon Army after his stint on Tyneside between 2002 and 2006. After a spell with Belenenses he has been with Sporting Lisbon as chief since 2018.

Viana was at the helm at Sporting when they won the title in 2021 after a two-decade wait and the Portuguese Cup was also celebrated in that time frame. Viana also oversees a huge Academy at Sporting with Rafa Leao the big success story in recent years after leaving the Portugal giants for Lille then AC Milan.

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/newcastle-united-close-new-sporting-29031273

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