By Alex McLeish

11th Nov, 2021 | 2:01pm

Ex-manager reveals what makes Emenalo 'brilliant' as Newcastle deal all but done

The appointment of a new director of football is “absolutely vital” to Eddie Howe’s success as Newcastle manager.

That’s according to former Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish, speaking to Football Insider about Newcastle’s likely next move.

This site understands Newcastle are set to appoint former Chelsea director Michael Emenalo as their director of football after a breakthrough in talks.

A Newcastle source has told Football Insider that Emenalo, 56, will work with Howe on recruiting at least three major January signings as the club’s priorities are identified at centre-back and central midfield.

McLeish insists Emanalo’s appointment is vital as Newcastle can’t afford to mess up their January transfer window.

“Eddie is going in there as a young, confident coach,” McLeish told Football Insider correspondent Ben Wild.

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“It looks like he has the fans on side, which is brilliant. But the first big thing for him is recruitment.

“That is absolutely vital and appointments like directors of football are absolutely vital. I found that out very early in my career.

“In my first season, I thought football was easy, then in my second, I lost about 10 players.

“That’s when you find out how important recruitment is a football clubs.

“Emenalo has a great record and I’m sure Eddie will appreciate any help he can get as he looks to build at Newcastle.”

Newcastle remain second-bottom of the Premier League and without a win in any competition this season.

Howe’s first game as Toon boss is against Brentford after the international break.

In other news, Kieran Maguire reveals Newcastle’s transfer plan after “speaking to agents“.