Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard said FourFourTwo that taking the Newcastle United job is not on his radar, despite beating Argentina 2-1 at the 2022 World Cup in a historic win for the Asian nation.
Of course, there are obvious links between the Newcastle manager’s work and Renard, given that the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund owns the English club. Despite this, Renard spoke enthusiastically about the work Eddie Howe is doing at Newcastle.
Talk to FourFourTwo in the latest issue available to order, Renard insisted that the managerial job at Newcastle was not an option.
“This [the ownership of Newcastle] is a starting point to build stronger football in Saudi Arabia,” says Renard. “I hope they [PIF] to be successful with Newcastle, as this will also contribute to the development of Saudi football.
“I do not know [want the Newcastle job], Eddie Howe does a wonderful job there. This team is completely different from last season. I’m sure the coach’s philosophy is excellent. I wish him the best.”
The Frenchman is a successful international coach, having led Zambia to victory in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012, beating Ivory Coast in the final. After a stint at Sochaux in his home country, Renard returned to Africa to lead the Ivory Coast – winning the AFCON with the nation in 2015, three years after winning with Zambia.
Renard also managed Morocco and Angola at international level, while at club level he offered his services to the aforementioned Lille, Sochaux and Cherbourg, all in France. Curiously, Renard also had a spell at Cambridge United in 2004 in a bid to prevent the club from being relegated from the Football League – in which he failed.
He’s certainly enjoying his time as Saudi Arabia manager, and his progress to the World Cup round of 16 in Qatar would earn him even more praise in Saudi Arabia.
Although he understands he is being generously remunerated for his services, success with the nation is his main ambition – an appearance in the Round of 16 would equal Saudi Arabia’s best showing at the World Cup, last achieved In 1994.