PIF held talks with 57-year-old about Newcastle job, now he’s set for a major new role
When PIF bought Newcastle United in 2021, it became immediately clear that they had big plans for the club.
PIF wanted the best staff, the best manager and the best players, all pulling together to compete for the top honours.
The ambitious project at Newcastle led to links with the biggest names on the planet, some of which were never going to sign for the Magpies.
Instead, the owners created a recruitment strategy that was smarter than simply signing the players with the biggest reputations.
As well as the right people on the pitch, Newcastle wanted the right people behind the scenes. We have now got Darren Eales as CEO, and Dan Ashworth as Sporting Director.
Getting the latter was a big coup, as Ashworth is a real master when it comes to building an identity and ensuring his philosophy is fulfilled.
He was a great hire, but he was not the only major name who Newcastle tried to appoint.
Newcastle wanted Michael Emenalo for major St James’ Park role
Another candidate to become Newcastle’s director of football was Michael Emenalo. The former Chelsea and Monaco chief was heavily linked with the role shortly after the takeover, and was someone who excited fans.
He has a great reputation in the transfer market, building some brilliant teams that have achieved great things. Emenalo brought the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah to Chelsea, who won the lot during his time as Technical Director at Stamford Bridge.
The Nigerian would have been a great appointment for Newcastle, and he actually held talks with the owners in Saudi Arabia about working at St James’ Park.
However, an agreement was not forthcoming and the Magpies eventually went with Ashworth, who arrived last summer.
One year on and the former Brighton man is doing brilliant work on Tyneside, while Emenalo is set for a new job that has major ties to the Newcastle owners.
Emenalo set for Saudi Pro League job
According to the Athletic, Emenalo is set to become director of football for the Saudi Pro League.
The top flight of Saudi Arabian football is receiving a facelift this summer, with some of Europe’s biggest names taking their careers to the Middle East – thanks to investment from PIF.
The Athletic state that Emenalo will be responsible for ‘helping the SPL develop frameworks and applying the kind of principles that are seen in the world’s biggest divisions’.
In short, it will be his job to help develop the division as it looks to enhance its reputation and reach the same standard of Europe’s major leagues.
Emenalo’s 2021 talks with PIF did not land him a job in Newcastle, but now he is set for a major role in Saudi Arabia.