Mateu Alemany, previously in charge at Valencia, was being eyed up by Newcastle, if their proposed takeover by a Saudi Arabian group had gone through.

That’s according to former Valencia marketing director Damià Vidagany, who says the Spaniard would have been handed free reign at St James Park.

Newcastle had looked set to swap hands last summer, when a Saudi Arabian group proposed to buy the club from current owner Mike Ashley.

The group, which included Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers, had agreed a £300m deal with Ashley to buy the club only for them to eventually pull out as the Premier League dragged their heels over whether to sanction the deal.

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Eventually, they elected not to, with PIF pulling out of the deal after growing frustrated at the lack of movement in the takeover process.

Before that, the future had looked extremely bright for Newcastle’s finances, with numerous rumours that the new owners would be willing to splash the cash in the North East.

This included improving the playing squad, including the facilities and overhauling the staff in an attempt to make Newcastle competitive once again.

And it seems one plan they had was to put Alemany in a director of football role, a position he will now get at Barcelona if Joan Laporta wins their presidential elections.

“There was a moment when the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund was going to buy Newcastle, and the person totally responsible, if this operation was carried out, was Mateu Alemany,” Vidagany told MARCA.

“He was the person they had chosen to take the club forward. He has always been clear that he wanted a sporting project.

“Going to Barça will be for him like touching Everest. Along with Real Madrid, they are the two biggest clubs in the world, and it is a tremendous challenge.

“The operation was not done because the Premier League vetoed it.”