Chris Coleman

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Reports: Chris Coleman steps down with Wales to accept Sunderland job

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Chris Coleman has been a hot name in the managerial game after making noise with Wales at the 2016 EURO Championships.

[ MORE: Man United looks to rebound against Newcastle ]

It appears the 47-year-old is about to embark on a new adventure though, with several reports indicating that Coleman will take over at Sunderland, who currently plays in the English Championship.

The Welsh FA revealed the following statement on Friday:

“We are extremely disappointed to see Chris’ tenure as Wales manager come to an end,” said Chief Executive Jonathan Ford.

“The FAW and Wales as a nation will be eternally grateful for the job he has done over the last six years as National Team Manager, from travelling the length and breadth of Wales outside of the media spotlight to talk to players and supporters, to guiding us to the semi-finals of the European Championships.

“We wish Chris the very best of luck for the future as he returns to club management, a desire for which he has always been honest and open about.”

The Black Cats currently sit dead last (24th place) in England’s second flight on 10 points through its opening 16 matches.

Sunderland finished the 2016/17 season at the bottom of the Premier League table, before being relegated ahead of the current campaign.

[ MORE: Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Rojo could return this weekend for Man United ]

Coleman helped guide the Welsh to the semifinals at EURO 2016, where his side fell to eventual champions Portugal. The Welsh had never previously qualified for the European Championships and hasn’t reached the World Cup since 1958.

Who will replace Koeman at Everton?

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Where will Everton turn in search of their next manager?

U23s coach David Unsworth is the front-runner to take over, according to several betting sites — not that we’d partake in such madness — and the 44-year-old boasts 312 career appaearances for the Toffees.

[ MORE: Everton sacks Ronald Koeman ]

As for who else could be in frame for the gig, there are names (quite) familiar and new.

David Moyes — This one is an eyebrow-raiser, as Moyes has had little if any success since leaving Everton and ended his time at Sunderland with a sexist takedown of a journalist. But the 54-year-old Scot spent more than 11 years at Everton before leaving for Manchester United, and it’s not like the Toffees wanted him to skip town. He was thrice League Manager of the Year at Goodison Park.

Sean Dyche — The Burnley boss has overachieved time and again at Turf Moor, and the Clarets are one of the smallest outfits the Premier League has ever seen. A move to Everton could be a big and safe enough step to warrant his affection.

Carlo Ancelotti — He’s said he’s not returning to a manager’s seat this season, but the Italian may relish the chance to take a skillful team and organize it into its rightful potential. And we think he’s do a magnificent job.

Chris Coleman — He’s waffled on staying in his position at Wales, and the club’s absence from this summer’s World Cup must have him eyeing the club scene. He’s hasn’t led a club since 2012, having led AEL, Coventry City, Real Sociedad, and Fulham.

Phil Neville — The Manchester United and Everton playing legend doesn’t have first chair experience, but may be able to rally the troops. His latest stint was as an assistant in brother Gary’s tough, short campaign at Valencia.

Although… his recent prediction record isn’t hot.

Longshots: Mikel Arteta, Luis Enrique, Eddie Howe, Thomas Tuchel, Sam Allardyce, Manuel Pellegrini, Frank De Boer.

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Allardyce not interested in Leicester City, Dyche the early favorite

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Amid plenty of calls for Leicester City to shoot for the moon as they search for a new manager, a more realistic name has emerged as an early frontrunner.

Craig Shakespeare, the man rumored to have engineered the downfall of Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City to take the reigns himself, was canned after just 26 games in charge. That has left a managerial opening at a club that to this point nobody can quite figure out how attractive a position it truly is.

There are calls for a run at top managerial names without a job, such as Carlo Ancelotti and Laurent Blanc, but instead the choice could come from within the current Premier League ranks.

Journeyman Sam Allardyce has ruled himself out of the running, saying on Talksport, “As big a club and as much as I would love to manage Leicester I don’t think it is time for me to manage yet. I’m not ready I don’t think. Having been in the game so long and done it so long, and looking at how I felt at the end of last season, I feel I am enjoying my life too much. Yes, it would have interested me and yes, I would take the Leicester job, but not at this time.”

Those quotes should also do much to quell rumors of a USMNT stint for Allardyce as well.

Next in line for the Leicester opening is Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who according to the Daily Mail is “interested” in the position, whatever that means. However, the catch is that due to his current post at Turf Moor, the Foxes would owe Burnley $3.4 million should he break his contract and move positions, a number which comes along with Dyche’s new Burnley contract signed this past summer.

Other names mentioned include the likes of former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel, Huddersfield Town’s David Wagner, and Wales boss Chris Coleman. Tuchel would be a stretch with the German likely looking for a bigger name, while Wagner would be tough to pry from Huddersfield after their solid start to the Premier League season plus likely competition from the United States national team. Coleman seems the most likely of the bunch, with his time in charge of Wales proving rocky in the recent past, especially as they narrowly missed out on World Cup qualification.

Could Gareth Bale return to Real Madrid sooner than expected?

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Just Saturday, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said he didn’t expect Gareth Bale back until the beginning of March.

The Welshman has been out since late November after undergoing surgery to repair torn ankle ligaments. Today, the club made it clear that Bale had returned to training, raising heads and sparking chatter that maybe he could return sooner than anticipated.

When speaking earlier, Zidane had targeted Madrid’s return leg of their Champions League matchup with Napoli on March 7 as his ideal return. “I hope that Bale is back with us before the return leg against Napoli,” Zidane said. “He still has to return to team training, which is the most important thing.”

Well, he’s done that less than 24 hours later.

Now, it appears the La Liga leaders could potentially have their man back before that. The ambitious goal would now be Wednesday’s first leg at home against Napoli, but having been out for so long, it’s unlikely he would be match fit that quickly. Madrid has a home meeting with Espanyol next weekend and a visit to Valencia in 10 days that he could look towards, plus two more league games against Villareal and Las Palmas before the visit to Naples.

Madrid has for the most part not missed a beat with Bale out, losing just the one league match against Sevilla, although they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey quarterfinals in late January. Zidane has deployed a number of different formations in Bale’s absence, with Marco Acensio seeing time on the wing, or playing Isco in the lone creative attacking role with Casemiro and Modric behind him. Through it all, Zidane has played Cristiano Ronaldo up top with Karim Benzema in a two-striker attack, and it will be interesting to see if Madrid sticks with that and slots Bale in opposite a wide Isco or Lucas Vasquez, or if Ronaldo moves back to a wider inside-forward role.

All this will please Wales boss Chris Coleman, who will now almost surely see Bale fit for the late March international break for a World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.

Swansea’s top target to replace Bradley ruled out

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Chris Coleman, the instant first-choice candidate to replace Bob Bradley as Swansea City manager — if you put any stock in the bookmakers, that is — has been publicly ruled out of consideration for the job by his wife, Charlotte.

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Coleman, who began his professional career for the club, played four seasons in south Wales from 1987-91, when Swansea was a fourth- and third-division club in the English football league system (pre-Premier League era).

After Bradley was fired on Tuesday, Coleman, fellow Welshman Ryan Giggs, who has four games of first-team managerial experience to his name, and Gary Rowett, were the first linked with the vacant post. Alas, Coleman’s wife took to Twitter on Thursday and revealed the couple’s short- and long-term plans.

[ MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup | Wednesday | Tuesday ]

After guiding Wales to a fairytale quarterfinals appearance at EURO 2016 in the summer, Coleman’s stock is at an all-time high. (His current contract runs through the 2018 World Cup.) There’s a decent chance it’ll never be higher, in fact. That said, Swansea has proven an incredibly toxic working environment in recent months and years, and a failed stint at the club could very well be the kiss of death for the 46-year-old’s managerial career, which he began in 2003, at the age of 32.