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Manager in ‘advanced talks’ with becoming new Birmingham boss

One particular manager is reportedly in ‘advanced talks’ with becoming the new boss of Championship outfit Birmingham City.

Pep Clotet has left the club, who are in a relegation battle, after a 3-1 defeat by playoff chasing Swansea City.

He had been set to leave the Championship side at the end of the season but said it was “mutually agreed” he would step down now.

That has been over a month since happening now and it would seem like the Blues could finally have a new man in charge.

It looks to be Aitor Karanka, a former manager of Middlesbrough, he was with them between 2013 and 2017, taking them up by finishing as Championship runner up in the 2015/16 season.

Though he got the chop in March 2017 after being winless in their last 10 Premier League games and sitting in the relegation zone, three points from safety with 11 games remaining.

Just under a year later, he then took charge of Nottingham Forest, though in January 2019, he departed the club after having asked to be released from his contract; he left the team in seventh position, four points behind the play-off places.

Aitor Karanka has previously rejected an offer to take over at Birmingham in 2017, though journalists say he is keen in taking over this time around.

He hasn’t been in the top six bookies favourites for the job until this week, with him currently topping the Sky Bet odds at 4/9. With the manager in ‘advanced talks’ with becoming the new Birmingham boss, he’s also in the running at La Liga side Valencia.

According to the Athletic, Valencia owner Peter Lim (who also owns a 40% share of League Two club Salford) is currently working through the process of appointing a new boss from his home in Singapore due to the coronavirus pandemic.

KARANKA’S CAREER STATS:

Middlesbrough – 13 November 2013 until 16 March 2017 – 171 games, 80 wins, 42 draws, 49 defeats, 46.8 % win

Nottingham Forest – 8 January 2018 until 11 January 2019 – 52 games, 16 wins, 19 draws, 17 defeats, 30.8 % win

Total – 223 games, 96 wins, 61 draws, 66 defeats, 43.0 % win

POSITIONS:

2013/14: 12th (half a Championship season)
2014/15: 4th (lost playoff final to Norwich)
2015/16: 2nd (promoted from the Championship)
2016/17: Sacked at 19th in the Premier League
2017/18: 17th (half a Championship season)
2019/20: 7th (half a Championship season)

He is recognised at Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest as a good manager who prefers to playing a 4-2-3-1 formation.

After being asked if he was keen to get another club, he told BBC Radio 5 Live last month: “Yes, but this pandemic, this moment has been good for something and one thing is you need to realise that football is not all in life.

“So now I think there are much, much more important things than football.

“I’ve been out for 16 months, I know now that it will be difficult because everyone is trying to adapt to the new times.

“I’ve been out for 16 months but I’m not this crazy manager who wants to be on the pitch everyday, so I need to find the right place like I did in your mighty Boro, I want to wait for the right time, I’m not in a hurry, let’s wait and see.”

He a Spanish former footballer who played mainly as a central defender (occasionally, he occupied the left back position).

He played solely in Spain for Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid, appearing in 275 La Liga matches over 13 seasons and winning a total of six honours with the latter.

Karanka started a managerial career in the late 2000s, notably working as an assistant at Real Madrid to Jose Mourinho.

There has been plenty of speculation over who may be taking over at the Midlands club with so many linked, including the likes of Chris Hughton, Nigel Clough and Lee Bowyer all being mentioned.

Neil Warnock was also one of those among the favourites to get the job, before heading to the Riverside Stadium to replace Jonathan Woodgate earlier this week.

The Blues have been reported to making an audacious move for former Liverpool player turned Rangers boss Steven Gerrard.

Football Insider stated that Birmingham asked Gerrard if he was interested about taking over this summer.

They cite a ‘Birmingham source’ as telling them they are interested in the Rangers manager succeeding Clotet.

They also add that Gerrard declined the opportunity, instead choosing to remain at Ibrox and oversee his third campaign at Rangers.

WHAT THE BOOKIES SAY:

Aitor Karanka – 4/9
Paul Cook – 9/2
Lee Bowyer – 8/1
Robbie Fowler – 10/1
Chris Hughton – 16/1
Danny Cowley – 16/1
Nigel Clough – 16/1
Steven Gerrard – 16/1

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