Argentine defender Fabricio Coloccini has been installed as surprise favourite to take over as manager at Newcastle, should Alan Pardew leave the club as expected.
Pardew has been given permission to speak to Crystal Palace about the vacant position at Selhurst Park and a compensation package has reportedly been agreed between the clubs.
Bookmaker Paddy Power has installed Coloccini as the 15/8 favourite to replace him at St James’s Park.
The 32-year-old has been with the club since 2008 and made his 200th appearance for the side in November.
The Argentine would be following in the footsteps of Garry Monk and Ryan Giggs, both of whom held player-manager roles in the Premier League last season.
But while both those players were already virtually retired from active duty, Coloccini is still a key part of the Newcastle first team.
The 32-year-old has no coaching experience and would be a left-field appointment, but owner Mike Ashley – a billionaire businessman – has never been afraid to make controversial decisions. Some of those include sacking Kevin Keegan and twice hiring Joe Kinnear, and although Coloccini getting the job would not be divisive, it would be unexpected.
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville were certainlyto hear he was favourite last night on Monday Night Football.
There are a number of other high-profile candidates for the role.
Did an exceptional job lifting Crystal Palace to 11th place last season, before leaving the club by mutual consent at the start of the current campaign. He can expect to be linked to most Premier League clubs who are seeking a new manager, although having reportedly left the Eagles due to a falling out with co-chairman Steve Parish over transfers, it remains to be seen whether Magpies owner Mike Ashley would give Pulis the financial support he may require.
Northumberland-born, the 53-year-old is a Newcastle supporter with plenty of experience – including two and a half years at arch-rivals Sunderland. Currently at Hull, who he led to the FA Cup final last season, although they are currently struggling at the wrong end of the Barclays Premier League.
The 44-year-old was strongly linked to the vacant manager’s position at Tottenham earlier this year. He played more than 300 games for the club he now manages, Ajax, while also playing more than 100 games for Holland. Has an impressive contacts book following a playing career which also took in Barcelona, Rangers and Galatasaray.
Sherwood was sacked as Tottenham head coach in May, less than five months into an 18-month contract with the club he once played for. Part of Blackburn’s 1995 title-winning side, he was also a midfielder with Watford, Norwich, Portsmouth and Coventry. Had talks with Parish over the vacant Palace manager’s job in August – and the 45-year-old is believed to be ready for a return to top flight management.
Mike Ashley has sprung a surprise or two before in his reign at St James’ Park, so McCoist may not be the outsider many consider him. The 52-year-old former Scotland international striker, currently on garden leave after handing in his resignation at Rangers before Christmas, presided over a testing time in the Scottish side’s history. Another contender with connections to local rivals Sunderland, he played more than 50 games for the Wearside club prior to his move to Ibrox in 1983.