Johanes Spors interviewed for Newcastle United's sporting director role as race for top job heats up

Johanes Spors has applied for the role of sporting director at Newcastle United amid intense competition for the coveted post.

Chronicle Live understands that Spors remains in contention in a well contested race that includes Crystal Palace's Dougie Freedman, former AS Roma supremo Tiago Pinto and former Newcastle star Hugo Viana, who is currently the top man at Sporting Lisbon.

The search for a new footballing supremo on Tyneside is being led by recruitment specialists Odgers Berndtson and the hope is an appointment will be made in time for the summer transfer window opening. Eddie Howe and head of recruitment Steve Nickson have led transfer business in the absence of Ashworth who is now on gardening leave.

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Nickson has also asked to be considered for the position after building up his reputation with co-owners Amanda Staveley and Jamie Reuben, and working well with influential scout Andy Howe.

Spors is currently the global sporting director of 777 Group and has had stints with RB Leipzig, Genoa and Hoffenheim to name but a few. Freedman's name has been gathering momentum and he boasts a good record at Palace having signed stars like Adam Wharton, Michael Olisie and Eberechi Eze.

It is believed that Spors and Freedman have had final interviews at Newcastle but no decision has been made yet. A report in i newspaper this morning suggests that Freedman is wanted to "oversee" a new era of youth development.

Howe commented earlier this year saying that the previous occupant of the sporting director role Dan Ashworth barely changed anything in the club's youth system. Rafa Benitez's former reserve team coach Ben Dawson is currently holding the position at second string level and Steve Harper is head of the Academy, a position he was in before the takeover went through, albeit on an interim basis.

When asked who his reporting line is at the moment with no sporting director in place, Howe said: "When Dan was here, it was very much Dan.

"Dan would be my reference point on anything. Now Dan has left, it is Darren Eales, the CEO. In terms of my working week and day to day, nothing has changed."

But it appears that major changes are afoot in Newcastle's football department this summer. And the appointment of a sporting director to replace Ashworth is edging ever closer.