Hope was talking on the Hawksbee & Jacobs show on talkSPORT (Tuesday, 1,30pm) when he was asked about the desirability of the job and who he thought was favourite.
“It won’t be an easy job,” Hope said. “You’ll be coming in as a pick of Mike Ashley and he will immediately have obstacles to overcome. You’d be replacing Benitez who was universally loved.
“Having said that, it’s not the worst job. Benitez has left a fairly healthy squad, there are no big players on long contracts. For the new guy coming in it’s a decent enough squad to work with and a budget to improve it.
“One name which has been put to me is Mikel Arteta and he would make a lot of sense. He was very close to the Arsenal job last year. Arteta would make sense. Mourinho and Wenger would be very ambitious. But I think a lot more will become apparent in the next few days.”
Arteta would make a lot of sense, more so when you look at the current frontrunners for the job. Jose Mourinho is the bookies favourite but we can’t see him wanting to work under an owner like Mike Ashley with limited control over transfers and, by his standards, a small budget. Arsene Wenger is surely even more unlikely, given his want of control at Arsenal. Claudio Ranieri is an interesting name but he’s not had much success since his time at Leicester and that was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. David Moyes, Garry Monk, Anthony Hudson, Mark Hughes and Avram Grant wouldn’t go down well with the fans – not that Ashley really cares much about that. 37-year-0ld Arteta would be a progressive choice and we think fans would warm to him. He did come close to the Arsenal job and knows the Premier League inside out, as a player with Arsenal and assistant coach at Man City. He will have learned a lot under Pep Guardiola and Newcastle would be an attractive job for him to take on. Too big for his first proper gig? It would be a gamble but a solid one.