Shearer set for talks with Ashley
Alan Shearer will sit down with Mike Ashley this week and demand sweeping changes if he is to remain as Newcastle manager. It is understood the Magpies are ready to offer the 38-year-old the chance to make his eight-game reign permanent with a long-term deal of up to four years, and hand him the task of dragging the club back into the Barclays Premier League. Newcastle now face the task of restructuring the club from top to bottom - around 150 members of staff, many of them part-time, were told last month their jobs could go if the club were relegated - although it is on the football side that the most significant change is required. There will be little option but to offload the club's high earners; skipper Michael Owen is out of contract at the end of next month, while midfielders Joey Barton and Alan Smith command huge pay packets. The likes of Obafemi Martins and Sebastien Bassong are likely to attract interest from potential buyers, but a woeful transfer policy which has lumbered the Magpies with Jonas Gutierrez, Fabricio Coloccini and Xisco among others is likely to prove even more costly as they attempt to clear the decks of players who will command a fraction of the fees paid for them. Shearer would want the final say on both that process and the recruitment of a new squad, and would require significant financial backing to build a team to bounce back at the first attempt. He would also need to reshape the backroom staff with Sir Bobby Robson's first-team coach John Carver linked with a return to St James' Park following his departure from MLS side Toronto FC. All that will be thrashed out this week with managing director Derek Llambias confirming that talks are imminent. He said: "Mike and I will sit down with Alan this week to discuss how the club moves forward again and I hope to be able to say more to our supporters later this week." Shearer is acutely aware that, whoever is to be in charge next season, planning must start immediately with the Coca-Cola Championship campaign due to get under way on August 8.
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