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Magpies chief now looking to Brazil
AFTER sealing the controversial £32m sponsorship deal with Wonga, Newcastle United are working on ambitious plans to raise the club's brand even further by targeting the worldwide market.
As the fall-out and impact of the four-year deal with the high-interest payday lenders continued, Newcastle's managing director Derek Llambias has described how he is already working on fresh ideas and plans.
There is a determination on club owner Mike Ashley's part to ensure progress continues on and off the pitch, with the boardroom keen to move on after the Wonga storm.
Armed with the extra finance from the £8m four-year tie up with Wonga, Newcastle are exploring the possibility of heading overseas, possibly to South America, as part of next summer's pre-season schedule.
Brazil, where preparations are underway to host the 2014 World Cup, is the destination high in their thinking at this stage, with broadening the club's profile at the forefront of Newcastle's thinking.
Ashley and Llambias' relationship with the Tyneside fans has never been straight-forward and earning praise and popularity is not something highest in their thinking.
What the pair, and those around them involved in setting financial goals at St James' Park, claim to be focused on is delivering a financially sound model capable of competing at the highest level at home and abroad.
"I'm not sure that's (popularity) what it's about for Mike and I. It's all about the management of the team," said Llambias. "We're trying to improve all the time and our next step is to try to improve globally.
"We're a great national brand. We've got a touch overseas, which is great, but it's not global and this whole brand needs to be global. That's our next target over the next three or four years - to try to get sponsorships in a global environment. Maybe that puts another player on the pitch."
The Ashley regime are well aware of the interest in the Premier League, which is why bouncing straight back from relegation to the Championship in 2009 was so important to the club and those who run it.
It is widely regarded that the Premier League brand reaches a global audience of over 640m homes throughout a single season in over 240 international markets.
In a recent survey conducted last year Newcastle were stated to have around 6m supporters around the world and Llambias is keen to tap in to foreign markets to see that figure grow.
Newcastle have already been over to the United States for a pre-season schedule, while last year they had scheduled a pre-season tour to South Africa, only for the tournament they were playing in to be cancelled at a late stage. In the end they ended up in Germany and Portugal.
Now Llambias has hinted the club are already looking in to the possibility of heading to Brazil to improve links to South America in both a commercial and footballing sense.
"It's about where can we go with partners, where can we go with Puma as a global brand? It's about launching ourselves," he said. "We've got Brazil coming up, last year was supposed to be South Africa. We're working on those things, with partners.
"Yes, we're talking about pre-season (Brazil). The World Cup's coming up, so it's a good opportunity. We're also working on different products. It's a game plan we've been working on for a while.
"It's a slow process - you can't do it overnight. Liverpool didn't do it overnight, Manchester United didn't. It's a slow process. Newcastle is a big brand. We just need to get it out there with more backing from different communities."
On the field there has been an overnight worry for Newcastle manager Alan Pardew to think about. French midfielder Yohan Cabaye is all but certain to miss his country's friendly with Japan tomorrow night with a stomach problem.
Concerns the 26-year-old will miss the Magpies' trip to Sunderland a week on Sunday are not too high, but they are sufficient enough to give Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps a selection headache.
Deschamps said: "Yohan is still in discomfort and has slight abdominal pains. He has trained separately and it's probable he won't start the match against Japan."
* Newcastle ticket holders with 75 or more away loyalty points can now apply for tickets for Newcastle's Europa League group match in Brugge.
Only 1,470 tickets have been allocated to Newcastle supporters at the Jan Breydel Stadium on November 8. To apply, log on to Newcastle's official website.
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