Quique Sanchez Flores: Stoke want Espanyol's ex-Watford boss to replace Hughes

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Quique Sanchez Flores has refused to comment on reports linking him with the Stoke job.

On Friday morning, Sandoz reiterated that stance, tweeting: "I understand Quique Sanchez Flores is expected to take the job at Stoke City".

He has a release clause worth €4m in his contract and Stoke are willing to pay that amount to Espanyol once Flores gives the signal to move back to England this month.

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Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has reported that the former Watford manager is to accept a five-year deal. "I want to continue being happy with my profession". I'm very grateful to Espanyol, I've been frustrated sometimes because we haven't advanced as fast as desired, but that's because Espanyol haven't been able to, not because they haven't wanted to.

"Right now we're not thinking about anything other than the game and Sunday's match against Athletic (Bilbao)".

According to BBC Sport, Stoke have made Sánchez Flores their back-up target if a bid to bring in Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill fails, the main stumbling block to that eventuality being that O'Neill will insist on combining his worldwide role with attempting to reverse Stoke's fortunes.

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Sanchez led Watford to 13th spot in the Premier League and the FA Cup semi-finals before being sacked in May 2016.

Stoke would like a manager in place for Monday's trip to Manchester United but are prepared to wait until the next fixture against Huddersfield to make an appointment.

Niedzwiecki has been assisted by under-18s boss Kevin Russell, who faced the media at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. "They will be a lucky manager".

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