Why Paul Mitchell looks the perfect sporting director for Newcastle United

Last week Paul Mitchell was appointed by Newcastle United, securing a much-needed replacement for Dan Ashworth and one of the most highly-regarded sporting directors in the game.

Mitchell is not only held in such high regard for his recruitment record, he’s been at the heart of a number of impressive operations in the Premier League and in Europe. He’s helped successfully oversee a number of projects and often pushes for the development of Academy talents and the signings of exciting young players.

He’s helped unearth several gems from his very first scouting role at MK Dons (2012) to his sporting director position at AS Monaco – his last role in football following his departure last October – and also has experience in multi-club models which I will also cover below.

In a summer that saw Southampton lose Lallana, Lovren, Shaw and Pochettino, he played a key role in the immediate rebuild as the Saints brought in Mane, Tadic, Bertrand and Pelle, where they went on to finish 7th that season (2014/15).

Southampton signings – Sadio Mane (£10m), Dusan Tadic (£11m), Victor Wanyama (£12.5m), Graziano Pelle (£8m)

He brought Son Heung-min to the Premier League, picked up Dele Alli for £5m after their time at MK Dons and played a big role in shaping Mauricio Pochettino’s exciting Spurs side, landing the likes of Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld for a combined £14.5m.

Spurs signings –  Heung-Min Son (£22m), Kieran Trippier (£3.5m), Toby Alderweireld (£11m), Dele Alli (£5m).

After joining the Red Bull group, he picked up some gems for Bundesliga giants RB Leipzig, recruiting the likes of Christopher Nkunku (now at Chelsea), Patrik Schick (now at Bayer Leverkusen), Nordi Mukiele (now at PSG), Matheus Cunha (now at Wolves) and Dani Olmo; a Spanish international currently starring at Euro 2024.

RB Leipzig signings Christopher Nkunku (£11m), Dani Olmo (£17m), Patrik Schick (£23m), Matheus Cunha (£12.5m), Nordi Mukiele (£13.5m)

In his last role before arriving on Tyneside, Mitchell inherited a mess at Monaco. They had around 70 players on their books at the time (first-team and youth talents pushing to break into the senior side), but from that came the development of Aurélien Tchouaméni and Benoit Badiashile. The French duo would then go on to seal big moves, with Tchouaméni joining Real Madrid for £85m and Badiashile departing for Chelsea in a deal worth £35m. Identifying, developing and selling for huge profits is something we could see more of and can work wonders in the world of FFP.

Axel Disasi was another Mitchell picked up at Monaco, with the centre-back signing for £10m before his £38m switch to Chelsea last summer.

His role at Leipzig within the Red Bull Group points towards his forward-thinking approach in recruitment and data-analysis, where he helped sign young, attacking players who fitted perfectly in a high-intensity style. Sounds ideal for Eddie Howe’s Newcastle, doesn’t it?

Mitchell also offers some experience working within a multi-club model, helping oversee improvements at Cercle Brugge – part of Monaco’s ownership portfolio – during his time in France, where the Belgian side went from a mid-table finish two years ago to second place in 2022/23 and fourth last season.

It’s not secret that Newcastle are exploring a multi-club model. Amanda Staveley confirmed this in March and there’s been talks held with clubs in Belgium (KV Oostende), France (Dijon), so this all helps Mitchell’s suitability to the role as we look to grow on and off the pitch.

All in all, he feels like a perfect fit. He’s worked in youth development, scouting and as a sporing director. He’s worked in the lower leagues of England (MK Dons) and at the very top with two Premier League stints, but also comes with vast experience in Europe following spells with RB Leipzig and Monaco, where he’ll have developed contacts in Germany and France.

It’s a unique blend of experience and expertise and a promising sign for the club’s trajectory that he’s ended a spell out of work to take on this ambitious project at St James’ Park, where he’ll work closely with Eddie Howe and Steve Nickson to help support a huge summer transfer window for the club.

From a player who captained MK Dons to a director who helped run a Champions League club with an excellent recruitment model, Mitchell has walked many paths in football that promise to serve him well at Newcastle United.

About Olly Hawkins

As a Junior Magpie since birth and season ticket holder, I eat, sleep and breathe all things NUFC! Here at the blog, I aim to bring you news, views, match reports and transfer exclusives as and when I get them.

61 thoughts on “Why Paul Mitchell looks the perfect sporting director for Newcastle United

  1. I’ve seen any amount of articles now with all the good signings he’s overseen – has he made any not so good ones?!.


  2. Good article Olly! Let’s hope he can bring some talent to the toon. Olmo would be good! Lol!


  3. So, Spain into the final. That was a cracking match tonight. That kid, Lamine Jamal, 16 yrs old… what a player and what a goal!


  4. Gilly Toon:
    So, Spain into the final. That was a cracking match tonight. That kid, Lamine Jamal, 16 yrs old… what a player and what a goal!

    Yes, really good Gilly.


  5. Well that was not a penalty. We were gifted that. We played better but still not very good. If only there was a fast left sided player we could use … 🤔


  6. I think it was a penalty, studs up, dangerous play. However, I also don’t think it was a clear and obvious error, so it should not have been given


  7. God we look a different team when the subs come on.

    Tripps has done a great job deputising at LB – but Shaw has to start the final for me.

    Palmer is a great impact sub as Eze has been so stick to that plan – but it’s time to drop Kane!!.

    Both Toney & now Watkins have shown themselves to offer more & Kane is like playing with 10 men.


  8. Studs up at that height is asking for trouble in the box and the only real surprise is the ref didn’t give it originally. That said as he didn’t give it and it wasn’t clear and obvious error VAR should not be asking the ref to look at it.
    I know the Dutch were unhappy with the ref leading up to the game .. is he the one who overturned their goal against France ??
    England just about worth the win in a half decent game IMO and a great goal from Watkins. Great penalty from kane too .. right in the side netting


  9. On Goudoussi and Staveley selling up, I feel a bit of an outlying voice in that I don’t buy the emotive hyperbole around their going.
    The whole “they gave us our club back” is a bit much. They didn’t, we haven’t and to be fair never had it to get it back. A cursory glance at tickets is enough to show where the club is headed.
    Bottom line is they were in it for money and they’ve made a packet while bringing NUFC back to be competitive and at the same time saying the right things to tap into the emotions of the fan base.
    Good for them and good luck to them in future but like players they are transient and it’s the club I love
    Id really like to know what the plans are to continue progress (in a slightly less chaotic manner ) at the club and I can think of four possibly five reasons why they’re going, so it’d be good to get some info on that over the summer.

    Nufc’s summer of uncertainty continues


  10. Jonesy – I get why you’d think that mate, but if it was all about cash they would have moved on and bought a different club rather than fight & wait for NUFC – it was about 3 years from start to finish.

    Plenty of other clubs were bought in that time, and since, with the transaction taking far less time.


  11. Always good to have different perspectives to bring slightly different levels of appreciation for what they did. Nowt wrong with a win-win and both they and the club benefitted. That’s a good outcome. Moving on

    I’m more interested in what it means for the club and that starts with Howe.
    After a fair bit of criticism ( some of it justified ), a lot of doubt if he can take the club to the next level, a chaotic start to the close season, disappointment at the first team taking a step sideways, England job looming, his power base at the club changing and now his biggest champion inside the club moving on I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s thinking what’s next after nufc. I know I would be


  12. Jonesy – agreed mate.

    I was one who was critical of Howe at times last season – and I’d like to think it was both constructive & timely. I’m still a huge fan of his & I acknowledged the adversities last season threw at him – I think at times they were used to pave over mistakes he was making – but they were impactful none the less.

    I completely think he has earned the right to take us into next season & im sure with a little better luck JC he will have success with us.

    The key relationship is obviously going to be between him & Mitchell now, but he was at Bmth when Mitchell was at Saints so I’m sure their paths cross in the past – it’s Eales who sets the agenda & knits it all together anyway & I think he is someone who probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves either.


  13. I just hope Amanda’s health is not worsening and that’s the reason. I for one am grateful they stuck it out for us to get the owners us fans deserve.


  14. Lots of speculation about Trippier being dropped in place of Shaw tonight – and OK magazine decide to run a story on his private life 🙄👏🏼.

    Personally I think Trippier himself would say we have to play our strongest 11 – I mean, nothing else matters than a win tonight right?!

    Yes it might seem harsh to drop Trips now – but there is no question the team looks more balanced with Shaw LB.

    Ultimately it depends on how many minutes Shaw can manage I suppose, but Tripps has more than done his bit to get us this far imo.


  15. It’s not whether the team is balanced Sharpy. It’s who can stop Yamal from cutting in onto his favoured foot. I reckon a right footed Trips is a better bet than a left footed Shaw.


  16. Well in the end it was Walker that lost his man twice for them to score. Gutted coz we had chances to win that or at least take it to ET/pens.

    Spain played the best throughout the tournament though imo.

    Southgate has to accept he was wrong to stick with Kane – he was poor every game imo.


  17. The best team won. Southgate had our team playing with a ball and chain round their ankles. We scored and then went totally defensive again inviting them on. We’ve been sh.ite and the lucky moments have just papered over the cracks. Southgate has had probably the best and most dynamic attacking players available to him that England has ever had. And most of them have been stuck on the bench. Shocking, awful manager. He has to be sacked.


  18. I know this sounds bias because it’s an NUFC site – but just don’t understand how a player that won the trophy with the U21s & picked up player of the tournament can’t get a single minute to show what he could do in this tournament.

    Southgate doesn’t have the bottle to make the big calls when’s they’re needed. Loyalty is great in club football, but it can’t be afforded in international knockout competitions.

    Kane should not have been in the team imo – HE should have been the one coming off the bench.

    Palmer more than proved his worth of being in the starting 11, but he didn’t have the bottle to drop Foden or Saka or Bellingham.

    Who goes into a tournament trialing RBs in midfield & whacking Foden out left – ridiculous!!. As if there wasn’t enough qualification games or friendlies to try that out.

    But he made history – first final on foreign soil. Maybe that tells you that as a Nation our expectations have been unrealistic for decades 🤷🏼‍♂️


  19. Knew we would lose. Just couldn’t get excited for it, Spain never gave us a second on the ball and we just stood off and let them pass the ball around . Late subs again and when we got the leveller we immediately dropped back and let them come at us again. So much pace and talent on the bench utterly wasted this tournament .
    We are awful under Southgate, he’s a nice guy but an utterly boring tactician.


  20. It’s an interesting time for Howe and his actions and that of the majority owners is going to be fascinating as the fa work on Southgate’s replacement.
    Common consensus is that howe’ll be gone if nufc dont start on fire next season.

    With his chief boardroom advocates out of the picture, (it seems) less authority than he’s enjoyed due to a new executive board above him and his stock still very high does he jump now if England come calling or stick with nufc, miss out on England and see his stock fall if nufc stumble a bit in the early season.
    I hope the club keep it all internal but I bet that’s infuriating for the media


  21. Jonesy – it’s interesting you talk about stock. What manager has walked away from the England job with a raised stock?.

    Now don’t get me wrong, win a trophy with England & you write your name into history books – I mean there is talk of Sir Southgate 🤯.

    We’ve got a phenomenal crop of players for England & whoever takes the job has to fancy their chances over the next 6-8 years I reckon.

    The high press Howe plays seems perfect for this group – but what after that (let’s say) 8 years?!.

    Where do you see Southgate next?.

    As for staying at NUFC, I think he’s where he is on merit, not coz of Mandy being his cheerleader.

    I suspect the likes of Eales know they got recruitment wrong last season – and they don’t seem the type to jump just coz Howe has a bad run of 5 or 6 games – should he start the season slowly I mean.

    Don’t get me wrong, should the FA come in with £20m for Howes services, I think the club may well consider – as they should.

    But I don’t see them doing that when Potter would cost nowt for example.


  22. Fair question on Southgate. Europe perhaps ?? He’s dignified, smart and driven ( if a bit cautious) so may choose club management with less public glare than England brings.

    I’d be surprised if Howe’s not weighing up the percentages and my post was meant to be more about where his head is than the clubs. I also think what Staveley brought is more than cheerleading for Howe.

    I have no evidence for the following but reflecting on recent events I wouldn’t be surprised if staveley leaving was not a mutually agreed decision and that leads to a conclusion that this lot of directors are much more outcome focussed than the unequivocal, instinctive and emotive support Howe had previously.

    I believe Howe is the best manager nufc can expect right now and I’ve said before I think there’s more to come from him. I just wonder if he’s looking at the club and thinking elsewhere might be less tricky as common consensus among nufc (un)social media forums is anything but CL next season is failure.

    So a question back to you is where would you place England’s squad against the rest of the world and where would you place nufc’s squad against the rest of the PL.
    I think the answer is 1st and 8th respectively and with nufc’s commercial income dwarfed by the biggest six that’s not changing quickly and so CL qualification is far from likely.


  23. Jonesy – I think the main reason for Mandy leaving was that they want to get cracking with the work on the training ground & stadium, which would require each of the 3 parties to stump up cash & Mandy didn’t have it – probably expected to win her court case & having not it meant she had to move on to allow things to start happening.
    I think the plan was always for them to move on after 5 years or so, so it’s not that surprising I don’t think.

    Regarding your question 🤔. I’d say Spain are ahead of us for sure.
    I think Portugal made the same mistake with Ronny as we did with Kane – but they had an amazing squad – probably a manager similar to Southgate though (overly cautious).
    Id say top 3 in Europe – but World?! The Brazilians, Argies, Uruguay?!

    No chance. Do you think we are going into that WC in America favourites? or even with a chance of winning it?! You must be if you’re suggesting they are number 1.

    As for NUFC – which is a more difficult question to answer because any team is only as good as the players & you can buy & sell at club level – so it depends heavily on good recruitment for us & not so good for others really.

    I think not being in Europe improves our chances this season, but we absolutely want to be in either CL or Europa – I’m no fan of this conference league nonsense.

    That would mean top 6 finishes for what I’m hopeful of – and I honestly think that’s entirely realistic.

    I think NUFC have got some great people in place behind the scenes now – I’m a big fan of Darren Eales.

    So in answer to your question it looks like I put both top 6 at the moment – it’s a club or Country choice for Howe – day to day or now and then hands on coaching.


  24. Paul Mitchell’s appointment as the sporting director for Newcastle United would be a strategic move for several reasons. His extensive experience, proven track record, and ability to identify and develop talent make him an ideal candidate to help the club achieve its ambitions slope.


  25. I’m more in favour of Lampard as next England manager the more I hear the question being asked.

    I don’t think he’s brilliant, but I get when people say Southgate having the experience as a player helped – Lampard has that, and at club level has had Ashley Cole by his side. If he joined him at England too, I think that would be a decent pairing.

    Both have achieved a lot in the game as players, have vast experience as players & would get the respect of the group – who probably grew up watching them play.

    I know it’s not inspiring, but if we want to keep it English then that would be my pick.


  26. Jonesy – re Southgate, you could be right mate. It’s been said he’s pals with Radcliffe & touted for the MU job – but that would be mental imo. But doesn’t Radcliffe own someone like Lille or a French team?.
    He could put him in there to get used to club football again, then if they want ETH out they have Southgate ready to move straight over.

    I honestly can’t see what else Southgate does, unless he gets a job with the FA somewhere 🤷🏼‍♂️.


  27. My money for England manager would be Potter! I think he’d be ideal. He had Brighton playing excellent attacking football. I’d forget about the Chelsea poisoned chalice .. nobody can succeed there at the moment.


  28. See Man Utd got off to a flyer in there pre season.

    1-0 defeat to Roseburg – who had 22 shots in total & hit the woodwork 4 times. They’ll have been playing the kids though – nope. Rashford, Mount, Evans & Casemiro all played 🫣.

    Don’t pack those Burton outfits away too quick G dog, you may be getting a call 😂


  29. Man Utd about to wrap up their 2nd signing of the window so far – dare I say 2 players we could have done with as well.


  30. Icedog Being a ‘glass half full’ guy. I’ve found it the only way to be, being a toon supporter for over 80 years. Had I not I would have spent most of that time on ‘suicide watch’ I think!
    Being the silly season and being awash with media rubbish! I believe the England job has just added to the fiction deluge! I also believe the ‘powers that be’ handling the England job have not drawn up a list of names yet never mind a short list.
    I strongly believe Eddie is right in his handling of it. It is wrong bad form and classless to assume the offer will be made (as others have done) When and if the offer comes will be the only time for him to say ‘aye or nay’.
    I am encouraged by what Paul Mitchell said yesterday that one of the things that helped him to take the job was to be working with Eddie and that their beliefs and backgrounds are the same.
    Ice have another look at your glass I’m sure its half full.


  31. I don’t know if Howe has been directly asked about the England job yet either – only the pundits touting his name – might seem a little presumptuous to distance yourself from a job before being asked.


  32. The other clubs are stealing a march on us signings wise mind – Man Utd getting a lot of early work done as is Villa & WH.

    I know there is a lot of window left, but it would be good to get newbies a pre season – and new Sporting Director or not, it’s not like we’ve not know what reinforcements we’ve needed for a season now.


  33. Of cause there is upheaval within management with Amanda and Mehrdad leaving and Mitchell and Bunce arriving. These ‘who does what’ questions should be quickly sorted out in an afternoon around a table. But I suppose the media rat pack will have to add a few made up stories to keep it going!


  34. There’s obviously been lots of fall out after Howes interview – and this I’m out in Germany so hadn’t heard nonsense 🙄. I’m in Turkey Eddie – news travels mate – you don’t have to wait for yesterday’s papers anymore 😂.

    I’ve had time to think on it & this may not be popular, but he needs to get over himself.

    Other clubs have had board members come & go and other clubs have had to sell players for PSR.

    He has been backed to the hilt in comparison to other NUFC managers in recent times & it looks like Dyche is going to have to sell all his assets so Everton can survive as a club let alone a PL one.

    Don’t forget your past Eddie – you were at Bmth before this working in far more demanding conditions. Cut the provisos & either be 100% committed or get on the phone to the FA.

    Nobody is bigger than our club & to be our manager – you should be eternally grateful.

    I know he’s changed his tune between interviews – I’m basing it off the link I added above.


  35. Sharpy First I did say media not press. I always search for facts and they are usually the hardest thing to find.
    Where we differ I’m afraid is I think Eddie has every right to define any changes in duties all boundaries etc, these should be set to avoid trouble later on.
    Remember Kevin Keegan v Dennis Wise extreme I know! but if we don’t learn from the past we are forced to relive it. After all its his life and livelihood and this is a very big choice to make.


  36. Howe is a good manager, could be a great manager with or elsewhere from nufc and doesnt deserve criticism for trying to develop his career in the way he wants.
    Howe is part of the team that made nufc better than it was and so he will go with my thanks for improving my club and well wishes for his future OR he’ll stay and I’ll continue to enjoy his teams product as he goes about his business in a committed, dignified and intelligent manner.


  37. Gents – do you really believe that Howes working parameters have changed so dramatically just because Mandy has gone & Mitchell has been brought in?!.

    I would like to make it very clear that I’m a big fan of Howe & think he’s done a great job in the main – but I do think he made mistakes that cost us last season – the injuries will mask them, but they were there.

    The reality is we were £70m in hock backing Howe and the club did everything in its powers to make sure we cleared that without having to sell one of his key players – so I find it difficult to hear Howe suggest or call into question the level of backing he’s had since he came in.

    If he sees this as a rare chance of getting the England job & he wants to go for it, I’d genuinely be disappointed to see him leave because I’ve loved our football under him (in the main).

    I’m of the belief someone like Poch could do a similar job for us. I think we could attract Tuchel as well personally – but I will reiterate, I’m really enjoying what’s happening with Howe – and I think that’s why I’m as disappointed to hear him talk the way he did in that interview.


  38. I’d rather have Howe than Poch. Poch has reached his potential and it’s no better than Howe is now. Howe has a lot more to come. Poch would be a step backward in my opinion.


  39. Prem – I want Howe to stay, and I agree I think he has more to come.

    But why is it you think Poch is done? I mean Chelsea had a storming 2nd half to last season – only City & Arsenal accrued more points.

    I know the argument could be that with all the money they’ve spent, it was still an under achievement – but they were/are very young additions and a lot of them. It was inevitably going to take him time.

    I absolutely don’t think Poch can be seen as a better manager than Howe just based on the clubs he’s managed. But I also don’t write him off just coz he wasn’t able to win anything with those clubs either.


  40. Sharpy Do I think the introduction of Mitchell and Bunce can make a difference? Short answer yes!
    Having worked as a head chef managing large kitchen brigades most of my adult life. In lots of ways it is like managing a soccer team. I have known changes of ‘upper house’ management too change not only the parameters but vastly change the ‘feel’ of a place which to me was always more important.


  41. Nutmeg – I know it will be different, but that’s why I choice my words carefully. I didn’t ask if it was different, I asked if his working parameters had changed?

    Mitchell only came in coz Ashworth decided to leave. It’s not the owners making a change to shake things up. We all saw how long it took to select the replacement and they seem to have went with someone with both has previous PL experience but also valuable experience working with top European clubs – that could be huge in our clubs progression.

    Change doesn’t have to mean it’s negative. Bunce has been brought in to oversee player fitness – we all know how much injuries hampered him last season – good changed surely?!.

    But any change in personnel will inevitably change the ‘feel’ – I don’t know of any work place or situation where that wouldn’t be the case.

    But I don’t believe it will bring any change to goals or expectations this season.


  42. I think we’ve now had 6 articles about Howes interview 🙄. I’m not sure why we couldn’t have just had 1 main article & the ‘authors’ not just post their thoughts & feelings on that – other than the more articles & the adverts 🙄.


  43. I like Howe and hope he stays and gets backed well. I love the fact he doesn’t throw tantrums and is calm and collected in interviews and pressers. Sir Alex would never of rattled Eddie like he did Kevin that’s for sure.
    When you look at the antics of other managers on the touchline and in pressers it makes me proud to have Howe as our manager.


  44. Sharpy. I don’t think Poch is done. I think that Howe could achieve at least as much as Poch with NUFC. If Howe goes I want an elite Manager clearly better than Howe. I’m not sure if one is available and if they would come


  45. Prem – sorry I didn’t mean done as in finished, I meant done in the sense you said he’d reacted his potential (so done in the sense of no further improvement).


  46. Well an interesting few days and several interviews ( there were more than one) to reflect on.
    I’ve got no issue with Howe’s words and as a high performing coach he’s right to be confident in himself and set out his conditions for success given the upheaval and change at the club.

    My gripe is that he did it in public and that feels an odd thing to do for Howe who usually gives away as little as possible and seems smart enough not to politicise in public ( Ala Benitez). The pressure is definitely on him now he’s brought it up.
    What he did do that is in keeping is control the conversation and he talk about what he wanted.

    My conclusion is we have three high performing individuals in the footballing operation and two of them are directly in role in response to perceived weaknesses (recruitment: Mitchell and sports science: bunce).
    So they need to work it out and they all seem smart enough to see the prize if they work together so we’ll see if ego overrides professionalism.
    Can’t wait for August 18th


  47. Well this has aged terribly. What has the lazy **** done since he arrived? Wheres the bloody signings?


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