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Jordi Cruyff is ready to rival Stoke City in the battle to provide Gus Poyet an escape route out of Brighton, ESPN understands.

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Cruyff hopes the lure of Champions League football will help him persuade Poyet to become the new boss of Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The sports director of the recently crowned Israeli Champions has made Brighton manager Poyet his chief target to replace Oscar Garcia, who has stepped down because of personal reasons.

Poyet is currently suspended by Brighton as chairman Tony Bloom continues an internal enquiry into comments the Uruguayan made in the immediate aftermath of their Championship play-off semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace.

He is keen to speak to Stoke regarding the vacancy created by Tony Pulis' sacking last Tuesday and wants a swift conclusion to the disciplinary dispute to avoid missing a Premier League opportunity.

But Cruyff is ready to make a formal request to Brighton to speak with Poyet regarding the vacancy at Maccabi.

"It is our job to find the right man who can build on what Oscar has brought to this club in the last season," Cruyff said.

"We are working hard to make a successful appointment with the right person who will continue to take the club forward."

Maccabi's title success means they will enter the Champions League at the second qualifying stage, but Cruyff faces a tough job to persuade Poyet to leave English football.

Poyet is one of the main candidates under consideration by Stoke chairman Peter Coates and his ability to develop players and invest in the club's academy will be a key attraction.

New Stoke technical director Mark Cartwright has a long-standing association with the former Chelsea midfielder and thought to be pushing for Poyet to replace Pulis.

Mark Hughes has made his interest in the post known and Stoke hope to start interviews this week, after compiling a shortlist which also includes Roberto Martinez.

Poyet is still waiting for a resolution to the on-going investigation and there is a concern that the longer the Championship club delay could seriously affect his prospects of landing the Premier League post he craves.


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