Bruce is safe as United continue to back their manager despite a slump that has put their Premier League lives in peril.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who recently left Guangzhou R&F, would be interested in the role.
And sources close to Howe say he would be open to it if United made a change.
Sources suggest the former Bournemouth boss suggest he is looking for the right fit but there could be interest if the job arose. He is also being linked with the Celtic job.
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