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Monday’s Football Focus

With four of the top six Premier League clubs in the process of changing their manager, one of the interesting issues now the 2012-13 season has ended is what impact these upheavals have had, and will have, on the 2013-14 campaign markets.

Wall Street weren’t over impressed when Sir Alex Ferguson retired, the surprise announcement knocking millions off the value of MUFC plc at a stroke, though the share price rallied and then stabilised when it was learned that the steady hand of David Moyes would now be on the tiller.

Those reactions were mirrored by the bookmakers and Coral now go 2/1 Man United retaining their title, the same price as their neighbours, Manchester City, currently rudderless, but expected to appoint Manuel Pellegrini (1/12) any time soon.

Everton, already big outsiders for next season, are now out with the washing (300/1) with Moyes gone, but the big move has been for Chelsea with Jose Mourinho looking an even bigger certainty to return to Stamford Bridge now that he has stepped down at Real Madrid.

Last month Chelsea could be backed at 5/1 to win the 2013-2014 Premier League title, but they are now a best-priced 3/1 with Coral. That is partly due to their strong finish to the season, but Mourinho’s imminent arrival is surely also a major factor.

It’s a six-horse race, according to the bookies with Arsenal a best-priced 16/1 with Coral and Liverpool at 20/1. Spurs are on offer at 25/1, but that price will shorten if Gareth Bale confirms that he will be staying at White Hart Lane for another year (and is perhaps joined by David Villa or Christian Benteke) and at the same time probably lengthen considerably if the overwhelming Footballer of the Year elects to leave for pastures new this summer – he’s 1/5 to stay and 100/30 to go with Coral.

Because of course on-field comings and goings will also have a huge influence on the destination of the Premier League title with confidence in United likely to be fully restored if they can bring in some of the players they are currently strongly linked with, such as Bale, Christiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas, Angel di Maria, Robert Lewandowski and the Everton pair, Leighton Baines, Marouane Fellaini.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, the chances of the two North East clubs, Newcastle and Sunderland, again fighting the drop this time next year could depend in part on the fate of their two managers.

It seems that Alan Pardew might be safe for another year at Newcastle (4/9 to stay in job, 7/4 to leave), but it’s touch and go whether Paulo di Canio is still at the Stadium of Light when the new season gets under way in August after wasting little time falling out with some of his players.

Written by Jon Freeman