It would be difficult for Frank Lampard to refuse the job at Newcastle.
But reverse the storyline – and it would be hard to imagine him hanging onto it if he was in Steve Bruce’s shoes right now.
Imagine if Lampard was already in charge of St James’ Park when the Saudi takeover took place last week.
Would he be seen as the man to achieve the ambitions of suddenly the richest club in the world? A manager with the seriousness to attract the biggest names on the planet to Tyneside?
Or would he be just another ‘walking dead man’ like Claudio Ranieri and Mark Hughes did when they found themselves in the same position at Chelsea and Manchester City respectively?
Lampard once failed to meet the expectations of a billionaire owner when he was mercilessly axed by Roman Abramovich earlier this year. Even his status as the most legendary of Chelsea legends couldn’t save him when the results took a turn for the worse.
Newcastle are not yet at the stage where the top four are the bare minimum, but they are unlikely to buy into the long-term, youth-led approach Lampard has tried to instill at Stamford Bridge.
They got rich quick and will also want success to be accelerated.
It’s easy to see the appeal of someone like Lampard – not least because he meets the primary requirement of any non-being-Steve-Bruce date.
It’s a glamorous name – and a very acceptable leader for a property that many have serious doubts about.
But he also looks very replaceable when Newcastle take their drive to win things seriously – perhaps from their first real assault on the transfer market next summer, when world elite managers may be. -be more prepared to put their name on a project that is in its infancy.
The appeal of someone like Lampard right now is that he’s big enough to be considered a nomination by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund – but not enough to be able to withstand a risky role for the reputation.
It’s a reputation from a football point of view, rather than political sense.
Newcastle are 19th in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s game against Tottenham and winless so far.
When evaluating their team, it’s hard to argue that they’re not where they deserve to be – and one wonders if a manager would be able to drive a significant increase depending on the resources at their disposal.
It’s not that no one can do a better job than Bruce – but a change of direction isn’t a guarantee of improvement, either.
Bruce may have lost the Toon Army, but his 23-year job deserves respect.
He remains a very capable and employable manager, who under the most difficult circumstances at Newcastle has kept them in the top flight – which is more than what can be said of some of his predecessors.
While it’s understandable that the BIPs are looking past Bruce – and sacking him gives them a quick win with fans – his successor will face exactly the same issues.
And by the time they can recruit new recruits in January, it is very possible that the situation will be even worse. Add to that the traditional difficulties of doing business during the mid-season window and it is not out of the question that Newcastle could play in the Championship next year.
That’s why the brightest names may well take a step back and take a peek before diving straight in.
Newcastle, at this point, is not the most attractive proposition for a certain level of manager.
They have a team that needs a complete overhaul.
If they follow the new money rulebook, they will spend badly at first before finding their bearings.
In their position, they can hardly afford to take any missteps in January – but they will shop in a limited market, with an air of desperation that will be impossible to shake off, especially if they get around the relegation zone. .
Lampard has shown enough during his limited time at Derby and Chelsea to suggest he is a manager with real potential – and even if he did topple Newcastle, it would be easy to sell the narrative that he is the type character for bring them up.
But patience is unlikely to be readily available, regardless of the initial sounds coming from Newcastle. The impending departure of Bruce is proof of this.
Just try to lower your expectations – and just watch the answer to any bump in the road.
The playbook has been written – and if Newcastle wants the almost guaranteed success that oligarch / state ownership offers, then they will follow suit.
It should be noted that in the era of the Premier League, they are the only club to go into mega-spending without winning a trophy.
Jack Walker’s millions earned Blackburn the title. Chelsea and City dominated – and even at a much more modest level, Dave Whelan funded an FA Cup triumph for Wigan.
Newcastle were the big spenders of the 1990s – signing Alan Shearer for a world record £ 15million, Les Ferdinands, Tino Asprilla, David Batty, but their wait for a major honor continues.
If Lampard had the chance, he would support himself to end this drought, just as he was convinced to take the reins at Chelsea after just a year in management.
It gave him a taste of the expectation of a club with enormous wealth. At Newcastle, he would just have a lot less quality resources to deal with it.