Rovers let Hughes talk to City

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The Independent Football

Blackburn have given Manchester City permission to speak with Mark Hughes over becoming Sven-Goran Eriksson's successor as manager.

Within hours of Eriksson's departure being confirmed by an official City statement, Rovers released one of their own stating they had "reluctantly" let Hughes speak to the Blues over their vacancy.

"Mark has made it clear to the board he would like the opportunity to talk to Manchester City," read the statement on www.rovers.co.uk.

With Luiz Felipe Scolari and Roberto Mancini heavily linked with the Chelsea job and Jose Mourinho apparently on the verge of joining Inter Milan, City owner Thaksin Shinawatra appears to have placed Hughes at the top of a wanted list that also includes Zico and Avram Grant.

Despite his obvious links to Manchester United, Dr Thaksin feels the Welshman, who managed his country before going on to take Blackburn into Europe and bring the likes of Benni McCarthy and Roque Santa Cruz to Ewood Park, is the man who can guide City towards the top four.

"Blackburn Rovers can confirm they have received an approach from Manchester City for permission to talk to Mark Hughes with regard to him becoming manager," continued the Rovers statement.

"In view of this, the board have decided reluctantly to give him permission, subject to terms and conditions acceptable to Blackburn being agreed with Manchester City in advance."

Given Dr Thaksin's obvious desire to have Hughes on board, financial considerations would not appear to be a problem.

It could mean Hughes is unveiled as City's new manager, and third in 14 months following a relatively stable period under Kevin Keegan, before the end of the week.

Certainly, while club insiders are refusing to put a timescale on talks over the manager's position, they are confident of unveiling Eriksson's successor earlier in the summer than the Swede was confirmed in the job last July.

Thaksin has seen at first hand the difficulties Eriksson had moulding a team together at such short notice and the situation would be even worse this summer given the Blues will be in action on July 18 as they begin their UEFA Cup quest in the first qualifying round.

Hughes' appointment would almost certainly win favour with the bulk of City's players, making it more likely star defenders Richard Dunne and Micah Richards would remain with the club.

And while many fans may be dubious about the United link, it may also quell widespread anger at Thaksin over Eriksson's dismissal.

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