Friday’s Football Focus
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will doubtless be reliving his finest moment this weekend when the Champions League Final gets under way.
But the Manchester United legend, who poked home that never-to-be-forgotten added time winner against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Final at the Nou Camp, may also be pondering the next chapter of his life in football – as the new manager of Everton.
That’s the message the drums were beating out this morning anyway. Norwegian Solskjaer, long tipped as a Premier League boss after quickly enjoying managerial success in his own country, has been all the rage for the Everton job. As high as 33/1 with one firm yesterday, the Solskjaer has today been backed down to as short as 4/1, although you can still get 10/1 with Coral.
This is despite Roberto Martinez, the original bookies’ favourite when it was announced David Moyes would be taking over at Manchester United, giving his many admirers hope that he was seriously considering the job by telling Wigan Chairman, David Whelan, that he wanted another few days to think over his future. He has been restored as favourite (11/4), while there has also been interesting support for Malky Mackay (into just 7/2 with Coral)
The likeable Martinez would be a popular choice at Goodison after the sterling job he has performed at Wigan in recent years, but Everton fans would probably also welcome Solskjaer with open arms, despite his close association with United.
Everton have given ex Man United players like Tim Howard, Louis Saha, Darron Gibson and especially Phil Neville a fair crack of the whip and they also displayed a refreshing lack of tribal pettiness when giving Moyes an emotional send off to his new post at Old Trafford.
Former Bolton boss Owen Coyle is the man plenty think will be given the job of resurrecting Wolves next season. Coral clipped him from 16/1 to 6/1 yesterday and further support today has seen the Scot shorten further to 3/1, although that’s still a bigger price than elsewhere.
Mark Hughes has firmed up to 7/4 to take over at Stoke, although Brighton boss Gus Poyet has also attracted support and is in to 7/1.
Meanwhile on the player front, Christian Benteke has irritated Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert by suggesting he would move to a bigger Club given the opportunity. The 22-year-old Belgian striker actually mentioned Arsenal by name in an interview with The Sun, but there is also likely to be strong interest from Spurs should he become available.