Steve Bruce on the Newcastle United job, Jack Colback, Rolando Aarons and Achraf Lazaar
Steve Bruce is the favourite to be named the next manager of Newcastle United - an appointment could even be made in the next 48 hours according to reports.
Bruce, who saw a flurry of bets placed on him this week to edge Mikel Arteta off the top of the betting markets, looks certain to be named the successor to Rafa Benitez at United, with talks over compensation said to be underway with current club Sheffield Wednesday.
Despite United never having paid compensation for a manager in the 12 years of Mike Ashley's reign on Tyneside, they may have to splash out a whopping £5million, according to the Times, to release Bruce from his Owls deal - which is just £1million shy of Benitez's yearly salary.
While fans have been unanimous in their disapproval regarding the latest development in the Mike Ashley car crash at St James's Park, the news of the former Sunderland boss' possible appointment will be music to the ears of three Magpies outcasts.
Jack Colback, Achraf Lazaar and Rolando Aarons have all be managed by the 58-year-old Geordie in the past, with the latter two spending the second half of last season on loan at Bruce's Sheffield Wednesday.
Bruce was linked with a permanent move for the United loan duo this summer, and clearly holds Lazaar and Aarons in high regard.
Colback was with Bruce at Sunderland and one of his first acts as manager of Aston Villa was to try and sign the midfielder on a permanent basis, only for the player to sit it out on the fringes at St James's Park.
Here's seven things Bruce has had to say about the trio - with Aarons coming in for particular praise at the back end of last season.
February 2019, Bruce on the debut of Lazaar and Aarons: "I am delighted with the two Newcastle boys. I think they did terrific on their debuts.
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"They are delighted to be here. They have not played anywhere really but it just shows you what you can do if you go and do your homework. Lazaar played an Under-23s match at WBA and we had him watched. Everything was positive."
April 2019, on Aarons' rumoured off-field issues: "All this nonsense written about him, I’ve not seen it. He’s done great since he walked through the door."
August 2017, on the prospect of signing Colback at Aston Villa:"I don’t know what they came from. I worked with Jack as a boy. There’s no truth in that."
February 2019, on the impact of Aarons and Lazaar at Sheffield Wednesday: "They both played with a smile on their face. They have given us something a bit different down the left-hand side with their pace and energy."
March 2019, Bruce on Aarons' only goal for Wednesday against Bolton: "Rolando, who’s had a real big impact on us, has capped off a memorable night for him because I thought he was terrific in the second half in particular. I’m delighted because he’s given us something we haven’t got - he’s got a little trick, he’s quick, and he’s energetic and young and I’m delighted for him because he’s a really, really good kid."
April 2019, Bruce on putting an arm around Aarons' shoulder and getting the best out of the player: "His career seemed to have fallen off the cliff a little bit, so you blow him a little bit of confidence, put an arm around his shoulder and remind him what a good player he was - which I remember when he first burst onto the scene."
July 2019, Bruce on fresh links to the Magpies' top job: "It’s news to me. God only knows what happened on Tuesday afternoon. There seemed to be an upsurge [in the betting] from somewhere. John Terry was favourite yesterday. It was Mikel Arteta the day before, so who knows? As far as I am concerned, I am here, I am going home tomorrow and looking forward to walking the dog."
Next Newcastle United manager, latest selected odds: Steve Bruce 1/5; Mikel Arteta 8/1; Jose Mourinho, Chris Wilder, Roberto Martinez 10/1; Quique Sanchez Flores 11/1; Lee Bowyer 12/1; Patrick Vieira 14/1; John Terry, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Laurent Blanc, Sean Dyche 16/1; David Moyes 18/1; Sam Allardyce, Steven Gerrard 20/1; Paul Clement, Chris Hughton, Mark Hughes, Claudio Ranieri, Phil Neville, Neil Redfearn 25/1; Jurgen Klinsmann, Sergio Conceicao 28/1; Thierry Henry, Roberto Mancini, Tim Sherwood 33/1; Gianfranco Zola, Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton, Slavisa Jokanovic, Chris Coleman, Michael O'Neill 40/1; Javi Gracia, Rui Faria, Bruno Labbadia, Rudi Garcia, Ben Dawson, Nigel Pearson, Daniel Farke, Kevin Keegan 50/1; Tony Mowbray, Christophe Galtier, Nolberto Solano 66/1.