Girona manager Michel Sanchez has emerged as a potential replacement for Eddie Howe, according to reports in Spain.
The 48-year-old won promotion to LaLiga with Girona in his first campaign in charge, before leading the Catalans to 10th place last term.
This season Girona, who are owned by the same holding company that controls Manchester City, have defied expectations and are level on points with Real Madrid at the top of the Spanish top-flight.
Girona’s exploits have catapulted Michel onto the radar of several of Europe’s biggest clubs. Barcelona are reportedly considering the former Rayo Vallecano boss as a replacement for Xavi, while Girona’s links with City could make Michel a logical replacement for Pep Guardiola.
According to Marca, Newcastle’s owners are ‘looking very seriously’ into handing the reins over to Michel, with the Spaniard considered a strong candidate to replace Howe, should the former Bournemouth manager be relieved of his duties.
Girona manager Miguel Sanchez has emerged as potential replacement for Eddie Howe
The Newcastle manager is under pressure after a difficult first half of the season
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Howe steered Newcastle to the Carabao Cup final and to fourth place in the Premier League last season, as the Magpies secured a Champions League berth for the first time in two decades.
But their foray into European football’s elite competition was short-lived as they finished bottom of their group and they were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup by Chelsea last month.
An injury crisis that has regularly deepened over the past two months has left Newcastle tired and heading into the New Year on a run of seven defeats in eight games in all competitions.
Four defeats in their last five Premier League matches have left the Magpies ninth in the Premier League, 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal and outside the European places for the first time since August.
With Premier League games against Manchester City and Aston Villa to come before the end of the month and a delicate FA Cup third round tie against Sunderland, there is a danger their fortunes could get worse before they get better.
Howe remains adamant a top-four finish was still achievable and has refused to use injuries as an excuse for the downturn in form.
Girona are top of the table in LaLiga along with Real Madrid, despite winning promotion to the Spanish top-flight just two years ago
‘If that’s possible, then we will go for it. We haven’t written anything off,’ he said ahead of the 4-2 defeat at Anfield on New Year’s Day.
‘We’re frustrated with the last two results in particular because if we’d won those, we’d be right back in the mix. I see that as a missed opportunity and I know the players feel the same way.
‘But we can’t look back, we can only look forward. It’s a challenging and busy month, but one that we need to embrace.’