Robson ready to return to the firing line with Wolves

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The Independent Online

Sir Bobby Robson does not do small clubs any more because he has done so much for the bigger ones. Consequently, when a "big" club needs a manager and Robson is unemployed, there is an obvious connection to be made.

Sir Bobby Robson does not do small clubs any more because he has done so much for the bigger ones. Consequently, when a "big" club needs a manager and Robson is unemployed, there is an obvious connection to be made.

Jez Moxey, the Wolverhampton Wanderers chief executive, has said he wants someone "with gravitas and experience of trophies" to replace Dave Jones, who departed three weeks ago. So it is that Robson is said to be in line to take charge at Wolves at the age of 71.

Moxey says not. Yesterday he denied reports that Robson, once manager of PSV Eindhoven, Porto, Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, England and, lately, Newcastle United, had signed a two-year contract to set the Old Gold club back on a path to the Premiership, but he may simply have meant that nothing had been signed. Rick Hayward, the Wolves chairman, is due back in his office on Monday after a trip to the United States, and his return could be the signal for progress on a deal.

Robson is keen to return to management and would feel at home in the Midlands, having played for West Bromwich Albion in the Fifties and early Sixties. The idea of a former West Brom manager, Gary Megson, taking over was swiftly dismissed; a former West Brom player might be a different matter.

Aside from Megson and Robson, a number of other managers have been linked with the vacancy at Molineux. Stuart Gray, the acting manager, steered Wolves to a 3-3 draw at Sheffield United yesterday, will carry on until a decision is made, while Harry Redknapp, who recently resigned at Portsmouth, and John Gregory, the former Aston Villa and Derby County manager, are also on the list.

A player who has been linked to a number of clubs, Owen Hargreaves, could be heading for Manchester United. The Canada-born midfielder has been keen to move from Bayern Munich to the Premiership because he thinks playing there will improve his chances of adding to his 24 England caps.

He almost joined Tottenham Hotspur during the summer, but the move broke down, apparently because of his wage demands. Arsenal are thought to be interested in him but Old Trafford now seems to be his likely destination.

His contract at Bayern runs until 2006, so he would command a fee, probably in excess of £10m, and his salary would make him a costly investment. Sir Alex Ferguson, though, would probably be happy to find the money to capture a player who could have a positive influence on his unconvincing midfield.

The United manager would need to sell to raise the money and to avoid building a bloated squad, but he needs someone to help Roy Keane in the engine room.

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