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Next Newcastle manager: Mikel Arteta leads Jose Mourinho as early favourite after Rafa Benitez exit

Lawrence Ostlere

Mikel Arteta is the early frontrunner to take over as the next manager of Newcastle United after the departure of Rafael Benitez.

Newcastle confirmed Benitez’s exit following a breakdown in contract talks which meant he will not be signing a new deal, adding: “The process to appoint a successor will now begin.”

Arteta, who came close to taking over at Arsenal last summer before losing out to Unai Emery, has been working as a coach under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, and has built a strong reputation for his tactical nous since retiring from playing.

The 37-year-old is known to want an opportunity to become a head coach, and Newcastle, who finished 15th in the Premier League last season, would represent a significant opportunity for the unproven manager.

Jose Mourinho is also among the favourites, having been out of the game since departing Manchester United in December, though it would mark a major step down for a manager used to challenging for major honours.

Mark Hughes – out of work since leaving Southampton midway through last season – and the former Newcastle manager Alan Pardew are also among the early frontrunners, while Roy Keane is also considered a possibility given his departure from Nottingham Forest as an assistant over the weekend.

Chris Hughton is another name in the frame. He would fit the bill of getting the best out of limited squad to stay in the Premier League, having achieved something similar with Brighton over the past two seasons.

Odds (via oddschecker)

Mike Arteta 5/1

Jose Mourinho 7/1

Alan Pardew 7/1

Mark Hughes 8/1

Roy Keane 8/1

Eddie Howe 10/1

Garry Monk 10/1

Steven Gerrard 14/1

Gennaro Gattuso 14/1

Chris Hughton 16/1