Steve Bruce

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PL Sunday preview: Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal, Wolves all open season

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There will be no shortage of headlines Sunday as Chelsea travel to Old Trafford to commence their era under Frank Lampard and American superstar Christian Pulisic. The mouth-watering bout will be only one of three matchups, however.

A new-look Arsenal – without Mezut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac – will start to write its own story, with Steve Bruce‘s Newcastle as the first chapter’s antagonist. Meanwhile, Leicester City will look to take advantage of a well-traveled Wolverhampton Wanderers, who have been busy qualifying for Europa League ahead of the Premier League’s start.

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Arsenal v. Newcastle — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

With a slew of new signings – including record signing Nicolas Pepe – and an instructional, yet painful year behind them, Unai Emery‘ second time around is expected to offer bigger and better things for Arsenal. A trip to St. James Park is first on the menu for the Gunners. Injuries and fitness setbacks in mind, Arsenal will look to hit the ground running with their undeniable high-power attack, while fielding a once familiar foe in the backline – David Luiz.

Newcastle, on the other hand, will start from zero under Steve Bruce. There isn’t a healthy amount of optimism behind the Magpies, but new seasons always call for a new set of hopes. At home, Newcastle biggest wish will be to smash paradigms from the get-go.

Wolves v. Leicester City — 9:00 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com

Wolves are taking advantage of their head start: the Europa League. Thus far, in two rounds of qualification play, Wolves have outscored opponents 10-1, something that will surely benefit Nuno Espírito Santo’s side when they travel to King Power Stadium. Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves all look in midseason form already, too. There’s no better scenario for the West Midlands’ side to prove their legitimacy than a season-opening victory against the Foxes.

But the same goes for Leicester, who will look to make a statement against one of the two sides that edged them to that same European position. The Foxes will certainly miss Harry McGuire, but Brendan Rogers’ men have enough pieces to make up for the lost quality.

Chelsea v. Manchester United — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

There’s arguably no better way to wrap up the first weekend of a new campaign: Chelsea v. Manchester United at the Theatre of Dreams.

On Chelsea’s end, the storylines fit the expectations. Club legend Frank Lampard kickstarts his coaching era with the Blues, while American sensation Christian Pulisic makes his Premier League debut – following a $73 million move from Borussia Dortmund to London last January. No Eden Hazard this time around for this new-era Chelsea, who will look to challenge the likes of Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham for the league title in the months to come.

Having added the likes of Maguire – the most expensive defender in history – Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Daniel James, the Red Devils are hoping for a better season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who they finished sixth with last year. With Romelu Lukaku long gone in Italy at Inter Milan and no immediate replacement coming inline, all eyes are on 21-year-old Marcus Rashford. Will he and his teammates show up against Chelsea? Or will Lampard – this time as a coach – walkaway from Old Trafford with a grin on his face?

The stage is set..

Bruce explains taking wheel at wobbly Newcastle United

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Steve Bruce didn’t have it in him to turn down his boyhood club again.

The well-traveled manager and Manchester United legend has taken the reins at combustible Newcastle United after Rafa Benitez walked away from the club this summer.

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Bruce was Sheffield Wednesday manager when that happened, but simply could not resist the lure of managing at St. James’ Park.

He’s also quite confident in his abilities. From The Chronicle:

“I know in some people’s eyes, I’m not Rafa and I know there are big shoes to fill but believe me, I’ll give it everything I possibly can and hopefully I prove the doubters wrong.”

Bruce certainly does not have Benitez’s resume, but has had success in lower leagues. He’s led Birmingham City and Hull City to a pair of promotions each.

If Newcastle backs him as rumored, he may be able to have one of his better Premier League seasons, but his being backed is a wobbly proposition at best (The club is being linked with monster Hoffenheim forward Joelinton).

Bruce knows things have been largely poor at Newcastle United under owner Mike Ashley, and that the club could be taken over by new owners with different ambitions for their manager’s position.

But, again, this is the club he’s supported since he was a boy.

“As I said the easy thing would to have been to say no but I just hope that people show the respect which you obviously only gain by getting results and doing the job, but hopefully that will go hand in hand.”

Steve Bruce resigns Sheffield Wednesday post with Newcastle move imminent

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Ahead of a heavily rumored move to Newcastle United, Steve Bruce has resigned from his managerial position at Sheffield Wednesday, along with assistants Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence.

The 58-year-old was only in charge at Hillsborough for less than half a season, appointed in January and officially taking charge in February. The club finished 10th in the Championship last season, but performed well under Bruce as he started his tenure on an 11-match unbeaten run and lost just three times under his watch.

Bruce was non-committal when asked about the role on Sunday during an interview with BBC Radio, saying, “Speculation is speculation. It’s in the hands of the clubs. For me, there’s nothing to talk about until the two clubs reach some sort of compromise.”

The Newcastle job is open after the club saw Rafa Benitez‘s contract expire without an agreement for an extension. The club has flown to China for its preseason tour without a permanent manager, and is set to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday as part of the Premier League Asia Trophy.

According to the BBC, Newcastle held talks with Bruce on Saturday, and other reports state Newcastle has already paid Sheffield Wednesday $5 million in compensation for his services despite a brief dispute over the amount that has delayed his appointment by at least a week. According to The Telegraph, Newcastle had balked at paying a multi-million dollar compensation fee for a manager who had been at his current post less than six months and was set to sign a one-year contract, but the club caved knowing the longer the club went without a manager, the longer other business had to wait.

Even with Bruce’s imminent appointment, it may be difficult to get him to China for the preseason tour, as obtaining a visa that quickly may be nearly impossible. Thus, he may have to wait until after the club’s second and final match on July 20 to meet his players.

Report: Discussions being held between Newcastle and Bruce

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If talks go well, Newcastle could bring a life-long fan of the club in as its new manager.

Steve Bruce confirmed on Saturday after a Sheffield Wednesday friendly match in Portugal that talks are being held between he and Newcastle over the club’s open managerial position. Newcastle has been without a manager since June 25 when Rafa Benitez left the club due to a difference in opinion between he and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

[READ: Pogba refuses to discuss transfer rumors]

“It’s in the hands of the clubs,” Bruce told BBC Sheffield, via the BBC website. “It’s come from nowhere over the last two or three days, so let’s see what the weekend brings. It’s happened so quickly that I’ve got to take stock of the whole situation. We’ll see what develops over the next 24 to 48 hours.”

It’s an interesting development for Newcastle, but it would always be difficult for them to replace a manager as good as Benitez with another one with his experience and man management. With Newcastle constantly on the verge of being sold it’s a tough job for any manager, which likely won’t get the backing from the front office they need to succeed.

As such, perhaps it makes sense that the only manager Newcastle is going for is one who was born nearby and is a long-time fan. Bruce once managed Sunderland in the Premier League but blamed his firing mid-season in 2011 on tribal hatred from Sunderland fans who wouldn’t let an “outsider” into the club.

By hiring Bruce, who hasn’t coached in the Premier League since taking Hull City up in 2013 and down in 2015, Newcastle could also be looking to try and win over the fans first, who may be disenfranchised by Benitez leaving, and the fans could potentially give the manager some slack if it’s another season without a top-ten finish.

Newcastle quoted new, ‘far greater’ price to hire Steve Bruce

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The 2019-20 Premier League season kicks off in 28 days, and Newcastle United is a club without a manger.

[ TRANSFER RUMORS: Alderweireld to Roma, Haller to West Ham ]

After Rafa Benitez left the club in his rearview last month, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley began the search for Benitez’s successor. Benitez’s last day as Magpies boss was more than two weeks ago.

Steve Bruce, who’s currently in charge of EFL Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, has been reported as the leading candidate for a few days now, yet no announcement has been made; no official word from either side that negotiations have taken place.

Now, four weeks to the day before the new PL season kicks off, there are reports out of the UK stating Wednesday have demanded an increased fee from Newcastle to buy Bruce out of his existing contract. According to Sky Sports, the figure Wednesday quoted Newcastle is “far greater than originally expected.”

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Given Ashley’s penny-pinching ways, no one in the soccer world would be surprised if he flat out refuses and walks away from the negotiating table, and starts the hiring search over from square one.

Just when Newcastle backed its way into a brilliant manager and an increasingly stable foundation for the club going forward — not to mention talks of a takeover that seemed very real at the time — they suddenly find themselves with none of the above, with many thanks to Ashley. Again.