Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira has been told to reject Newcastle’s advances by former Toon boss Rafa Benitez, according to reports.
The Spaniard left Newcastle United at the end of last month after turning down the offer of a new contract – citing a lack of ambition regarding the future from the board.
And Benitez, who has since signed a £12million-a-year deal to take charge of Dalian Yifang, has already issued a warning to both Vieira – as well as Manchester City No 2 Mikel Arteta – to stay clear off the job.
The Sun claim that both were on the shortlist to succeed Benitez, with Arteta ruling himself out of the running on Tuesday having spoken with his fellow Spaniard.
It’s understood Benitez criticised the Toon hierarchy, whom he has had a fractious relationship with, throughout those conversations.
Vieira also ruled himself out of contention to fill the St James Park hotseat last week following a similar exchange with Benitez
Former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce, who is currently managing Sheffield Wednesday, is now firmly in contention to land the role.
Bruce, 58, is the bookies’ favourite to take over at Newcastle despite only taking over at Hillsborough in February.
No approach has been made to date, and although the potential appointment would attract yet more anger directed towards the Newcastle board by supporters – owing to Bruce’s previous allegiance with Sunderland – the powers that be realise the precarious situation they’re in and the need to act quickly.