By Noel Whelan

7th Dec, 2021 | 5:00pm

Pundit slams 'naive' Newcastle chiefs after crushing update in last 72 hours

Newcastle will have a “backup” candidate for the director of football vacancy despite showing “naivety” in their pursuit of Michael Emenalo, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Magpies need to “fill the base with the right person” as soon as possible.

As per the Telegraph (4 December), Emenalo turned down the role offered to him after he remained unconvinced that Newcastle matched his ambitious plans for the club.

However, club co-owner Mehrdad Ghodoussi insisted (5 December) the Nigerian had not been offered the role.

Talks had been going on for some time, with Emenalo emerging as the leading candidate for the vacancy after this site revealed (9 November) that he had flown out to Saudi Arabia for talks.

Whelan insisted Newcastle’s new Saudi regime have shown their “inexperience” in the world of football.

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“I’m sure they will have a backup plan in place,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“The owners have shown a bit of inexperience and naivety.

“We saw the appointment of Eddie Howe drag on a bit as well.

“I’d like to think that they didn’t go out on their number one target and that they’ll have someone to fall back to.

“It’s important they fill these bases with the right people with the right vision. They need to do it as quickly as possible because January is vital.”

Newcastle confirmed the departure of managing director Lee Charnley last month (19 November), paving the way for a new appointment.

The Magpies sit second from bottom in the Premier League as Christmas approaches.

In other news, Kieran Maguire has claimed Newcastle fans will love ‘encouraging’ commercial deal update.