Former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has had time to get over his acrimonious split from the money men at Eastlands and is now waiting in the wings for a new job in the summer. Let’s look at some of the options that may or may not be available to him.
West Ham United
New West Ham owners David Gold and Sullivan have publically backed manager Gianfranco Zola since taking over the club. Yet with relegation a real fear for the Hammers and costs spiralling out of control the two David’s could be looking to bring their own man in next season with Mark Hughes an obvious candidate. The chairmen are believed to be riled as Gianfranco Zola’s £2 million a year wages along with an extremely large backroom staff is running the club dry. Only last week Zola was known to be extremely frustrated with the call made by David Sullivan on the eve of their crucial home tie against Birmingham to a club wide 25% wage cut for all staff in order to deal with the mounting debt. Relations between the owners and management are known to not be particularly warm. West Ham United could be good prospect for Hughes if they decide to let go of Gianfranco Zola.
Whilst seemingly more far-fetched this could happen with Sunderland’s recent crash and burn form after an excellent start to the season. The North East side has slipped into 13th position having not won in the last twelve Premier League matches. With former Manchester United favourite Steve Bruce in charge at Sunderland his position is coming under increasing attack after a large summer outlay on a range of players. Whilst Darren Bent’s form has been something of a highlight, defensively Sunderland are very poor having conceded the same amount of goals as bottom club Portsmouth. With current owner Texan Ellis Short pulling the strings at Sunderland his patience may be wearing a little thin after a hefty investment and little return. A move for a third former Manchester United player in Mark Hughes to manage Sunderland could happen. This would be a good move for Hughes considering the vast wealth the American owner has and would be backed significantly in the summer.
Another seemingly unlikely destination for Hughes yet Newcastle United could be exactly where the Welshman works his magic. With Newcastle in a tight promotion challenge back the Premier League, Chris Hughton has done a wonderful patchwork job of mending a fractured dressing room into a committed side. Yet upon a successful Premier League return, would Newcastle owner Mike Ashley want someone with Premiership experience to guide the Toon Army to safety and rebuild the ailing club? Maybe so and Mark Hughes could be that man. Furthermore Mike Ashley may finally sell Newcastle United in the summer and new owners would wish to bring their own man into the club despite Chris Hughton’s work. Again Mark Hughes would be high upon such a list. This could be a very good move for Hughes depending on the stability of the club. With a new owner and financial backing Hughes could build and mould his own team at a ‘big’ club like Newcastle United.
An emotional return to the club where he made his name as a manager is probably not on the cards, but we have seen stranger things happen in football. Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has done a decent job for the Lancashire outfit and with a good run of form they have begun to pull away from the relegation places, yet a couple of bad results and they would be dragged straight back amongst it. Should a near miss of relegation occur, the Blackburn board may decide to turn to Hughes to rejuvenate the 1995 Premier League champions. It seems unlikely that Hughes would consider the move as it could be seen as a step back for the former Wales manager. But if no jobs come around apart from this one, Hughes could be tempted.
What is certain is Hughes is still held in high regard throughout the Premier League and when any Premiership manager’s job is uncertain he will inevitably be linked with the position. Yet would Hughes need to be tempted by a ‘big’ club to come back, or would he consider some of the smaller clubs as a return to work?
Who do you think Mark Hughes will manage next and would you like to see him at your club?
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