Newcastle's Search Appears To Be Down To Two Men - Will They Opt For Experience Or Potential?

It looks like it's a case of Patrick Vieira or Steve McClaren - and they're polar opposites.

Have Newcastle United finally placed all of their cards on the table? Is it now down to a case of throwing a coin and letting it land on either heads or tails in their extended pursuit for a new head coach? The Magpies will sit down with at least two candidates this week, discuss how they envisage each of them fulfilling the post vacated by Alan Pardew at the turn of the year and then temporarily occupied (albeit extremely poorly) by John Carver, and then likely make their extremely-belated choice. That choice is dependent on which way they flip the coin - will it be Steve McClaren or Patrick Vieira? Heads and they go for experience, they opt for a man who has managed Middlesbrough to the UEFA Cup final, who won the League Cup with the Boro, who failed miserably as England boss, but then who rebuilt his career with an Eredivisie title. Yet since that time at FC Twente, McClaren has struggled at Wolfsburg, Nottingham Forest, in Holland once more and then, most recently, he was sacked last week by Derby County having failed to even take them to the play-offs.
What's more, McClaren had turned down the Magpies' advances on at least two occasions - back in January, and then to save their flailing Premier League season with three games remaining - yet the 54-year-old would represent the safe and experienced choice. A lack of flair, certainly, but a safe pair or hands. However, should the coin land on tails, and then Newcastle will be looking towards Vieira. The Frenchman - quite literally - represents the opposite side of the coin.
As a player, Vieira lifted the World Cup, the FIFA Confederations Cup and the European Championship with France, three Premier League titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal, four Serie A titles (one with Juventus and three with Inter Milan), and another FA Cup with Manchester City - but as a manager he has no senior experience. Since 2013, the 107-cap France international has been in charge of Manchester City's Elite Development Squad and, although he has been earmarked as Manuel Pellegrini's potential long-term replacement at the Etihad, he is still very much in the embryonic stages of his coaching career. There are many utterings around Manchester that even the Citizens' hierarchy are yet to be convinced by Vieira's long-term credentials. He has potential, certainly, but will he really be a top coach? Newcastle would be taking a gamble appointing such an inexperienced man, but he could also be a breath of fresh air.
Vieira would essentially be a maverick option - the joker card in Newcastle's pack. It seems Newcastle have narrowed their choices down to one extreme or the other: experience vs youth; a safe pair of hands vs a calculated risk; a boring candidate or a maverick contender. McClaren is the marginal favourite, and he would almost certainly ensure that Newcastle United remain in the Premier League - but Vieira would be the exciting unknown.
Will Lee Charnley take a risk, or will he revert to type and opt for the man he pinpointed as Newcastle's next boss all the way back in January? One thing is for sure - both options represent two very different visions for the future of Newcastle United. Who do you think should be the next Magpies head coach? Make sure to vote in our poll - Should Newcastle United appoint Patrick Vieira or Steve McClaren?For all the latest NUFC News, Views and Transfers make sure to follow WhatCultureNUFC on Twitter and Facebook.

NUFC editor for History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.