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Monday’s Football Focus

It’s never quiet for too long up at St James’ Park and Newcastle chairman Mike Ashley has caused another huge stir in the north east by appointing former manager Joe Kinnear as Director of Football.

Magpie fans have reacted with general astonishment, some so shocked they thought it was a hoax, but the new reality for the Geordie faithful is that the 66-year-old Kinnear will be responsible for both moving in and shifting out players.

We have yet to learn what Alan Pardew thinks about this new (as yet unconfirmed) arrangement, but the current Newcastle boss was already under fire following a campaign that saw them decline from Europe League hopefuls in 2012 to relegation candidates last season. Expect plenty of activity in related betting markets in the coming weeks, including perhaps interest in Coral’s 12/1 quote that Newcastle will be relegated this time.

Liverpool have been busy in the transfer market in recent weeks, signing Iago Aspas from Celta Vigo and Kolo Toure from Manchester City. They are also apparently on the case of Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, while Belgian international goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is set to move to Anfield from Sunderland shortly as a potential replacement for Pepe Reina, who is seemingly Barcelona-bound.

These several bits of good news for Liverpool fans add up to some compensation for reports confirming that Luis Suarez wants to leave the club and join Real Madrid. Coral now rate Liverpool a 16/1 chance to win the Premier League and 5/2 that they win any major trophy in 2013-14 (2/7 that they don’t).

Isco, one of the brightest young stars at the European Under-21 Championships, is another attracted by a move to Madrid, but he has also expressed interest in teaming up again with Malaga boss, Manuel Pellegrini, at Man City and it is the English club apparently who are currently in the box seat.

Man United’s chances of finally getting Robert Lewandowski to Old Trafford seem to have diminished with Borussia Dortmund now insisting that the prolific Polish striker sees out the final year of his contract. That will then leave Lewandowski free to go where he pleases and it is understood that his destination of choice would be Bayern Munich

Oscar Garcia Junyent, former boss of Israel club Maccabi Tel Aviv, is emerging as the favourite to take over at Brighton with current boss Gus Poyet on the verge of leaving the Seagulls Coral go 14/1 Brighton winning next season’s Championship, 9/2 they are promoted and 22/1 they are relegated.

 

Written by Jon Freeman