There had been relatively little movement since Benitez’s departure, but the Sheffield Wednesday boss is now favourite to take over at St James’ Park
Tuesday saw Steve Bruce cut from 20/1 (21.0) to 1/2 (1.50) to be the next Newcastle United manager although the man himself insisted he has not heard from anyone at the club.
The market had been relatively quiet since Rafael Benitez’s departure in late June after failing to agree a new contract with the Magpies.
Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta was linked with the vacancy, as were Jose Mourinho and Roberto Martinez, but the gamble on Bruce has been significant compared to those early nibbles from punters.
Bruce is currently in charge of Championship club Sheffield Wednesday and has held a host of managerial posts since retiring from playing in 1999.
They include two years at Sunderland – Newcastle’s arch rivals – but the 58-year-old was a boyhood Magpies fan and that could be a key factor in any potential approach.
Having only taken charge in February, Bruce’s current contract at Hillsborough is a one-year rolling deal. With that in mind any agreement to move elsewhere could be significantly easier to negotiate compared to some of the other candidates.
William Hill’s Joe Crilly said, “Steve Bruce has been backed off the board since Tuesday morning and people are continuing to come in for him despite the fact that his price is now prohibitively short,” said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly. “That, to me, suggests that he’s as good as got the gig.”
Arteta and Mourinho remain towards the head of the market although at 10/1 (11.0) they’re significantly bigger in the betting than previous quotes.
It’s understandable to see both names feature prominently in the betting for any high-profile vacancy, but the latest odds suggest the Newcastle hierarchy could be looking elsewhere.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder signed a new three-year deal with the newly promoted Blades so the 16/1 (17.0) available on the 51-year-old moving on makes little appeal.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst is also a 16/1 (17.0) chance having won the Eredivisie title with Feyenoord although reports suggest the Dutchman is not in contention for the vacant role.
Having sold Ayoze Perez to Leicester City for £30 million after Benitez left the club, there are just four weeks left for Premier League sides to complete their transfer business for the summer, so time is of the essence to appoint a successor.
The ongoing talk of a potential sale also complicates matters but Bruce would surely struggle to turn down a move to his boyhood club and a return to the top-flight should the opportunity present itself.
Newcastle kick-off their Premier League campaign at home to Arsenal on August 11. The Magpies are 27/10 (3.70) with William Hill to secure three points.
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