Thursday’s Football Focus
Bill Kenwright insisted there was “no favourite” on his list for the vacant manager’s post at Goodison after interviewing Roberto Martinez, but punters are taking absolutely no notice of the Everton chairman.
There’s a favourite alright and that favourite is indeed Martinez, who remains long odds-on (2/7 with Coral) to be the man taking over from David Moyes, possibly as early as next Monday.
Mind you, if Kenwright is being absolutely straight with the media, then there are a few overpriced contenders on that list, including former player Alan Stubbs (16/1), currently on Everton’s coaching staff. He’s been a quiet tip to take over from those in the know all along and might well be the man step up to the main role if Martinez isn’t appointed.
Meanwhile, it’s all change in the betting for the next Wigan boss. Yesterday assistant manager Graeme Jones was installed as favourite with Rene Meulensteen and Owen Coyle close behind. Now it’s former England manager, Steve McLaren, who is in pole position at 3/1, but it’s still a wide open market.
There’s a new favourite to be the next Wolves boss, too, with Kenny Jackett (5/4) taking over from Steve Davis and Owen Coyle at the head of the market.
Mark Hughes has been damned with faint praise by the odds compilers after, as expected, it was announced earlier today that he has taken over at Stoke on a three-year contract. When Tony Pulis was dismissed, the Potters were 3/1 with Coral to be relegated next season – now they have been nudged out ever so slightly to 100/30.
Maroune Fellaini used that well known Belgian word – “waffle” – to describe rumours of a move to Manchester United this summer. That’s to go with the “nonsense, rubbish” and other less printable words that players and their agents have been using to sum up media conjecture.
Of course, some of the assumptions might indeed be ill-founded, but I don’t think anybody would bet their house on Fellaini not moving to Old Trafford. The same goes for Gareth Bale and Luiz Suarez not moving to Real Madrid, even after their respective agents insisted their men had contracts to fulfil and would not be going anywhere.
The money says a few other high-profile deals could be happening before next season gets under way, too. Leighton Baines is probably on his way to Man United and so might Cesc Fabregas, who we keep hearing is unhappy at not being a regular starter at Barcelona.
The Spanish champions appear increasingly likely to replace Monaco-bound Victor Valdez with Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina and are also prepared, it seems, to let David Villa leave the Nou Camp, probably to Spurs.