The possibility of Steve Bruce becoming Manchester United manager isn’t something you’d expect to see - but here we are.
The 60-year-old is reportedly open to a surprise return to management, just over four weeks after being sacked by Newcastle United.
Here, we take a look at the reports linking him with the Old Trafford post, his Magpies spell and the reaction on Tyneside:
What’s been reported?
It’s been reported that Bruce is ‘very keen’ to succeed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United on an interim basis.
Bruce feels he can stabilise the dressing room at Old Trafford until a permanent boss is appointed for the start of next season.
Former Wallsend Boys Club youngster Michael Carrick is currently in caretaker charge, and oversaw a 2-0 victory in Villarreal on Tuesday night.
What’s been said?
Bruce recently received the backing of former teammate Peter Schmeichel due to his long affiliation with Man United.
Indeed, the former defender spent almost a decade as a Red Devils player, winning three Premier League titles in the 1990s.
“I just like the idea, if it is an interim, get somebody who knows the club,” Schmeichel told CBS Sports. “Get somebody who is known by the club as well.
“Somebody like Steve Bruce, that would be fantastic.”
His son, Alex, also pushed his father’s case, also citing his club connection and his experience having managed 1,000 games.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “Who knows? I think everyone knows he has a great relationship with the club. If they needed him, I’m sure he would be there to help.
“I think they need to get a world-class, elite manager. If they can’t find someone at this present time, then I’m sure he would be up for it.
“Dad carries a lot of experience. He knows a lot about the club.
“One thing you can say about the people there at the moment (interim options) is that they don’t carry a lot of experience.
“Whether they want someone to come in and give them a hand for the time being, if they don’t make that elite appointment, we’ll just have to watch this space.”
How did his time as Newcastle United head coach go?
The narrative from the national media was that Bruce carried out a “brilliant job” on Tyneside. Well, at least that’s what a certain radio station said anyway.
But Newcastle fans have strongly argued otherwise and having covered the Bruce era, their anger was totally understandable.
At face value, yes Bruce retained the club’s Premier League status but a delve deeper paints a more comprehensive picture.
It’s no secret that Bruce wasn’t wanted from day one but despite belief to the contrary, he was given a chance by supporters.
However, the team’s none identity quickly became an issue.
Results held up during Bruce’s first season in charge to stay clear of relegation but it was apparent such approach wasn’t sustainable.
Last season was made up of a bright start, a pathetic middle (two wins in 21 matches) and strong finish.
His position was untenable after that 3-0 Brighton defeat in March but Mike Ashley stuck by him, and Newcastle surged to safety.
Bruce was handed better tools compared to the majority of his predecessors. In his first summer, the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton arrived for big money.
A year later, he convinced Mike Ashley to sign in Premier League experience as Callum Wilson, Jamal Lewis, Ryan Fraser and Jeff Hendrick arrived.
By the time he was sacked last month, he’d taken the club backwards - sitting 19th in the table after eight matches.
It wasn’t just his on-field struggles that got to supporters. It was his abrasive attitude towards the media too, and the digs at ‘keyboard critics’, and the ‘mighty Rafa’.
It’s a mess Eddie Howe has been left to pick up.
Bruce, like he did at the beginning of his Newcastle career to his credit, reportedly wants to get the Old Trafford dressing room pulling together again.
However, is that what Manchester United need? Solskjaer’s biggest appraisal was he re-united the playing staff after Jose Mourinho’s reign.
How have Newcastle fans reacted to Bruce’s Man United links?
Unsurprisingly, it has brought some amusement on Tyneside given his unpopularity.
“Steve Bruce? Did these people not watch us play over the last two years,” @robp1996 tweeted.
@JackStanley86 said: “If Steve Bruce went to #mufc would never stop laughing. Ever.”
“It would very quickly and finally put to bed the myth that Bruce is a good manager,” @alancathyrogers said.
It’d be quite the story for Bruce and his CV if it were somehow to come off. But at the moment, it is just crazy speculation.