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Souness Keen On Newcastle Return

Sun 13 Jan, 10:09 PM

Former Newcastle boss Graeme Souness admits he would return to St James' Park "in a heartbeat".

Harry Redknapp turned down the role on Saturday following Sam Allardyce's exit - and Newcastle have been told by Portsmouth they will be wasting their time making any more bids for the 60-year-old.

But Souness, who endured a difficult spell from 2004-06 as Magpies boss under Freddy Shepherd, admitted he would be happy to return to Tyneside under new owner Mike Ashley and chairman Chris Mort.

Asked on Sky Sports if he would be interested in going back, Souness said: "With [there now being] a different chairman, most certainly."

When pressed on whether he would take the job if it was offered to him, he added: "In a heartbeat. It is a big club, one of the big clubs out there.

"It has got the potential to be one of the best. But it's not a quick fix, and whoever goes in there is going to need certainly a minimum of three or four years."

Newcastle spent vast sums on transfers during Souness' tenure - including the signing of Michael Owen from Real Madrid - but the Scot refuted the suggestion he was fully backed by then-chairman Shepherd.

"I would argue that point because at the end of the day my first choice was (Nicolas) Anelka and (Luis) Boa Morte.

"I was told, when I spoke to the people in Turkey, when Anelka was for sale at that time, that he could be bought. But I was told he wasn't for sale and couldn't be bought.

"So instead of us spending the £12million there, we bought Albert Luque for £10million and Michael Owen for £16million."

Asked whether those were his decisions, Souness said: "No. I was told Albert Luque would cost £2million."

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes has now been installed as bookmakers' favourite for the Newcastle job.

But ahead of his side's match against Bolton, the former Wales manager told Sky Sports: "All this speculation has been going on for quite some time, but my focus today is obviously on getting a result for Blackburn Rovers, as it always is.

"I don't really want to be talking about speculation that has nothing to do with me. It's a case of getting the lads focused and that's what we're trying to do."

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