Unfortunately for Steve Bruce, it now appears to be a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ he will be sacked as Newcastle United manager.
Bruce fears he will be relieved of his duties following the completion of the £305 million Saudi Arabian-backed takeover, which was finalised on Thursday.
"I want to continue," Bruce admitted in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. "I'd like the chance to show the new owners what I can do, but you have to be realistic and they may well want a new manager to launch things for them.
"New owners normally want a new manager. I've been around long enough to understand that."
Bruce has struggled to win over the club’s supporters since his appointment in 2019 and is still looking for his first Premier League victory of the 2021-22 campaign.
The Magpies currently sit 19th in the table, having picked up three points from their opening seven league fixtures, and there’s every chance that Bruce will now be replaced before the club’s next match (at home to Tottenham on October 17).
Who will replace Steve Bruce as Newcastle United manager?
But who will replace Bruce as Newcastle manager?
Let’s check out some of the key names in the frame, with the odds courtesy of various bookmakers listed on Oddschecker.
Kevin Keegan - 500/1
We’d all love to see Kevin Keegan back at Newcastle for a third crack at the manager’s job but let’s be realistic: there’s zero chance of it happening.
King Kev hasn’t worked in management since leaving St James’ Park in 2008 and turns 71 in February.
Erik ten Hag - 100/1
Ajax’s highly-rated manager, Erik ten Hag, looks decent value at 100/1. You could certainly understand why Newcastle’s new owners might be tempted to take a punt on the 51-year-old Dutchman.
Diego Simeone - 66/1
Diego Simeone has now been with Atletico Madrid for 10 years - a lifetime in football management - and will fancy his side’s chances of winning another La Liga title this season.
Barring a hugely unexpected turn of events, the Argentine will not be the coach who replaces Bruce.
Roy Keane - 66/1
Now we’re talking.
Just imagine the drama if Newcastle appointed Roy Keane - a former Sunderland manager, remember - totally out of the blue. It would be absolute scenes.
Zinedine Zidane - 33/1
An almost unlimited transfer budget would appeal to almost every football manager and Zinedine Zidane might be tempted by the new project at St James’ Park.
If Newcastle are planning on signing superstar names, then Zidane (a three-time Champions League winner, let’s not forget) could be the ideal coach to keep all the egos in check.
Roberto Mancini - 25/1
The man who masterminded Italy's Euro 2020 final victory over England, Roberto Mancini managed Man City during their early post-takeover spell and delivered the Citizens their first Premier League title in 2012.
Joachim Low - 20/1
Germany’s national team coach between 2006-2021, Joachim Low would be a fascinating appointment. Whether it would work out or not, though, is anyone’s guess.
Jose Mourinho - 17/1
Jose Mourinho loves English football and would surely relish the opportunity to become the coach who leads Newcastle to major honours. He would be treated like a god in the north-east if he managed to end the club’s long wait for a trophy.
The revered Portuguese coach is content at AS Roma for the time being but don’t rule this one out completely.
Rafael Benitez - 16/1
Rafael Benitez has an excellent relationship with Newcastle fans after managing the club between 2016-2019.
The Spaniard only joined Everton in the summer, though, so a return to St James’ Park in the short-term future is very unlikely.
Frank Lampard - 8/1
After a poor start to the season, any manager who takes the Newcastle job right now knows they’re taking a big risk. After all, this team could conceivably be relegated to the Championship at the end of the campaign.
Because Frank Lampard is looking to get back into management, however, the former Chelsea boss would surely be very tempted to say yes if the call comes to replace Bruce.
Brendan Rodgers - 8/1
Leicester City’s recent form hasn’t been great but Brendan Rodgers has cemented his status as one of Britain’s best coaches in recent years and must be one of the names that Newcastle’s owners are considering.
Would the 48-year-old jump ship, though?
Antonio Conte - 5/1
Appointing Antonio Conte would be a major statement of intent from Newcastle’s new owners.
But whether the Italian coach would want the job now, rather than next summer, is uncertain.
Eddie Howe - 4/1
Despite the short odds, we’d be surprised if this one happened.
Eddie Howe worked miracles for years with Bournemouth but hasn’t proved himself anywhere else yet - and he certainly hasn’t proved that he could manage the huge egos of multi-million pound footballers.
Steven Gerrard - 3/1 (Favourite)
A former world-class player who has enjoyed a magnificent start to his managerial career with Rangers, you can understand why Steven Gerrard is the bookies’ favourite to replace Bruce at Newcastle.
However, Gerrard has made no secret of his long-term ambition to become Liverpool manager one day, and Newcastle’s owners may have that at the back of their minds when making their final decision.
Newcastle takeover completed (Football Terrace)
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