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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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By ESPN Staff

Yeung holds the key to Bruce's successor

Birmingham will need to obtain the approval of prospective new owner Carson Yeung to appoint a successor to Steve Bruce - even though doubts have emerged as to whether his takeover of the club will go through.

The current board have already been frustrated in seeing Yeung block the new contract they had agreed six months ago with Bruce - a major factor in his deciding to quit with Wigan poised to appoint him as successor to Chris Hutchings next week.

Now, legally, co-owner David Sullivan and chairman David Gold have to get the agreement of Yeung to bring in a replacement as he is City's major shareholder with 29.9%.

It means if Yeung digs his heels in, City might not be able to appoint a new manager until any takeover goes through.

But that would be a farcical situation given Yeung appears to be struggling to raise the funds needed to completely buy out Gold and Sullivan, who have given the Hong Kong businessman a December 20 deadline.

Only this week it emerged that Yeung has asked for more time to try to put together the additional £35million needed to take total control.

Blues are making no public statements but privately Sullivan and Gold fear the deal could collapse - and in the process cost them the services of Bruce who has been at Birmingham for six years.

In the meantime Sullivan and Gold want Bruce's assistant Eric Black to move into a caretaker role but he is also keen on moving to JJB Stadium along with reserve coach Keith Bertschin.

Negotiations are continuing between the two clubs and, if a satisfactory agreement is reached, academy director Terry Westley could be in charge for next Saturday's home Barclays Premier League clash with Portsmouth.

But there is also the possibility that former Coventry manager Black could be held to his contract until a satisfactory replacement for Bruce is found.