Steve Bruce’s name is again being mentioned in connection with the managerial vacancy at Newcastle United.
The Sheffield Wednesday boss was initially listed as one of the options ‘being considered’ by the Premier League side, after Rafa Benitez chose not to renew his contract.
Two weeks on, ‘being considered’ (or ‘under consideration’) is still the common phrase of choice to describe the extent of Newcastle’s interest [the Independent and various others]. And there is no mention, yet, of an approach being made or even planned.
Interestingly, Tuesday’s reports follow a sudden surge in Bruce backers at the bookies, while the Tynesider’s son, Alex, started following the Magpies’ Instagram account on Monday – before those developments in the betting market.
Whether there is some truth to the speculation or whether it’s just an unhappy coincidence (based on the reactions of many Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle supporters) remains to be seen.
But here are three important points to consider, nonetheless:
Newcastle’s is a job that should hold some interest to Bruce
Newcastle are a club close to his heart, with Bruce having grown up half-an-hour down the road from St James’ Park in Corbridge. Sentimentally at least, the Magpies’ gig could be a tough one to reject, if offered (although he’s turned it down twice before), especially after the loss of the 58-year-old’s parents in a short space of time last year. If Newcastle are to move – and the club’s ongoing failure to land their apparent top targets only enhances Bruce’s desirability to them – then the man who never got to play for his boyhood heroes may have to consider whether it could be now or never for him to fulfil another of his dreams.
Wednesday are unlikely to let him go without a fight
Jack Hunt aside, the Owls have managed to hang on to all of their stars under Dejphon Chansiri. Their Thai owner’s stance is admirable in many ways, although his desire to drive a hard bargain has sometimes come at the detriment to both himself and the club. According to the Sun‘s Alan Nixon, Chansiri asked for £14 million for the Wednesday forward, Fernando Forestieri, earlier this summer – despite the Argentine having entered the final year of his contract – and £8m for Forestieri’s 10-goal attacking colleague, Lucas Joao. It begs the question: How much would he want for Bruce, the man to whom he has entrusted a significant amount of contract since hiring him in January, and has so far seen the benefits? And would it be a price that Chansiri’s tight-fisted Magpies counterpart, Mike Ashley, would then agree to pay?
Would Bruce be better off at Hillsborough?
Although it is Wednesday who are the ones burdened with a transfer embargo, Bruce has remained optimistic about his side mounting a promotion challenge this coming season. Newcastle, on the other hand, are struggling to generate any sort of enthusiasm for their supporters, having already sold one key player, Ayoze Perez, to Leicester and failed to bring back another, Salomon Rondon, after an impressive spell on loan. And while their Premier League status holds obvious appeal, can any prospective new Magpies boss realistically expect that to be retained for much longer, without a drastic change of approach from Ashley?