Exclusive - Newcastle United's continued search for a new manager has led to former Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim.
The 47-year-old is currently working in Saudi Arabia as manager of Al Hilal, and members of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) - who own percent 80% of Newcastle after buying the club from Mike Ashley at the beginning of October - now believe he could be the right man to succeed Steve Bruce.
90min revealed earlier this month that Newcastle had narrowed their shortlist of candidates to Eddie Howe, Lucien Favre and Paulo Fonseca, with the latter two particularly impressing the club's owners during talks.
Their interviews were led by current managing director, Lee Charnley - who is not expected to remain at the club in the long-term - alongside chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan, fellow board member Amanda Staveley, her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi of PCP Capital Partners and Jamie Reuben - the third member of the board.
But although Favre and Fonseca did well and impressed, 90min has been told that Jardim is now a serious candidate to succeed Bruce after being put forward by colleagues of Al-Rumayyan's at PIF.
The Portuguese boss is well known to members of PIF after agreeing to take charge of Al Hilal over the summer, and although he has only been at the club since June - investing heavily in the squad during that time - there would be no issue with him moving to Newcastle because of background relations and connections through the Saudi government.
Jardim's managerial résumé is impressive enough, following successful stints in charge of Sporting CP, Olympiacos and most notably Monaco - who he brilliantly guided to an unlikely Ligue 1 title in 2017.
Sources have told 90min that Newcastle now don't expect to welcome a new manager before the international break, but Jardim's appointment could be confirmed before then.
Interim manager Graeme Jones will continue to take charge of first-team affairs in the meantime, and goes into Saturday's Premier League game with Chelsea at St James' Park looking to earn Newcastle's first win of the season.