Could Quique Sanchez Flores switch Espanyol for Stoke City?by Jack Kitson / 10 January 2018, 10:33Tweet
Since sacking Mark Hughes Stoke City have been linked with current and former international managers, recently sacked Premier League gaffers, and highly-rated young British bosses.
But there are now unconfirmed reports that Quique Flores Sanchez has jetted over to England for talks with the managerless club, as he becomes the latest name to be fired into the Potters frame.
The stylish Spaniard, who remains a popular figure at former club Watford, has come in at 2/1 to make a surprise return to England with a struggling Stoke side stuck in the relegation zone following a wretched run of seven defeats in 10 games.
The 52-year-old boss previously managed Watford for a single season in 2015/16, leading the Hornets to 13th place and an FA Cup semi-final before surprisingly departing in the summer.
In June 2016 the ex Real Madrid and Valencia player ventured back to his homeland with Espanyol, who finished 8th last season, but this term are currently in 14th after 18 games.
In truth a switch from Spain to Stoke appears unlikely, but should the rumours continue to gather steam over the next couple of days then you simply never know, Flores could soon be back on the Premier League touchline.
The Stoke Sentinel reports that the club could in fact have a new manager in place come Monday, although attempting to name the identity of Hughes’ successor is akin to working out what on earth is in Area 51.
The current favourite for the post is former West Ham boss Slaven Bilic who has darted from odds-on to odds-against more times than a Fiddler's elbow. The Croatian is the only unemployed manager who is considered a major contender in the market, although he’s reportedly not interested in returning to the dugout until the summer.
Then there’s the Republic of Ireland gaffer Martin O’Neill. The former Sunderland manager has not managed in the Premier League since 2013, while he's verbally agreed a new two-year deal with Ireland. However, the Stoke rumours refuse to die down and the Potters remain hopeful of a potential appointment.
Gary Rowett was the early frontrunner for the job, but then drifted out in the betting on Tuesday when it became known that he was close to signing a new deal with Derby...a contract he has since extended to 2021.
Elsewhere, former Everton boss Ronald Koeman and Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez are out at 20/1, while ex Stoke coach Nigel Pearson is a 25/1 shot.
Stoke are next in action on Monday away to Man Utd, live on Sky Sports.
The next Stoke manager market features current & former international gaffers, young British bosses, ex Everton & Watford managers, and Nigel Pearson.— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) January 10, 2018
Who on earth is going to replace Mark Hughes?#SCFC pic.twitter.com/mwdFUyyxlX