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With his designer stubble, his Euro-chic fashion sense and his reputation for playing an exciting brand of free-flowing attacking football, Paulo Fonseca is, in many ways, everything Steve Bruce is not. 

If the rumours are true, and that Saudi-backed takeover is finally edging closer to completion, the Premier League’s very own ugly duckling may be about to undergo the sort of transformation we have not seen since Manchester City went from Michael Ball to Kevin de Bruyne. 

According to The Mirror, around a quarter of a billion pounds will be invested in improving the infrastructure and the playing staff at St James’ Park.

And Bruce is under no illusions about what the future holds for him on the banks of the Tyne. The word ‘future’ is perhaps an ironic one. Because it looks for all the world that Bruce will be the first casualty of a new regime.

THE NEYMAR – MBAPPE – MESSI TRIO IS FAILING.

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A man who would make Sam Allardyce look like the second coming of King Kev as far as the Newcastle supporters are considered, Bruce knows he is unlikely to be given the opportunity to oversee a dramatic revival of the Premier League’s perennial underachievers. 

Is Steve Bruce on his way out of Newcastle United?

The question is, who will take Bruce’s place on the Tyneside touchline?

Clamour for the likes of Antonio Conte is understandably underway, but a more realistic option may be another former Serie A boss who finds himself without a club following an acrimonious departure from his previous employers. 

Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

According to the Daily Mail, former Roma, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk coach Paulo Fonseca had been identified as one of the leading contenders to take over from Bruce had the takeover gone through last year. 

Flash forward 18 months or so and Fonseca, who has won nine trophies during his managerial career, is available right here, right now.

And Newcastle have Tottenham Hotspur to thank for that.  

“The agreement was done,” Fonseca told The Telegraph a fortnight ago, explaining why a summer move to North London failed to materialise.  

“We were planning the pre-season and Tottenham wanted an offensive coach. But things changed when the new managing director (Fabio Paratici) arrived. We didn’t agree with some ideas and he preferred another coach. 

“I have some principles. I wanted to be coach of the great teams but I want the right project and a club where the people believe in my ideas, my way to play.” 

Could Newcastle be the club Fonseca is looking for? Could Fonseca be the manager Newcastle are looking for? 

The answer to both questions, and many others, should become apparent during a hectic couple of weeks at St James’ Park. 

Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

In other news, 'Not good': Conte says he won't be picking Spurs loanee for rest of the year