Kirchhoff and Allardyce next on Sunderland agenda
Jan Kirchhoff and Sam Allardyce himself are the sole remaining contract issues for Sunderland after Vito Mannone penned fresh terms at the Stadium of Light.
Goalkeeper Mannone yesterday rubber-stamped a new two year deal with Sunderland after talks had opened last month over extending the Italian’s Black Cats tenure.
The contract - which runs until the summer of 2018 - caps a remarkable turnaround in the Italian’s fortunes after he had looked likely to leave the club in January, following a frustrating 13-month spell as back-up to Costel Pantilimon.
Mannone follows Patrick van Aanholt and Jermain Defoe in penning a new contract at Sunderland this summer - leaving Kirchhoff and Allardyce as the outstanding figures whose present deals run out in 12 months.
Kirchhoff is expected to extend his Cats stay without a hitch after only penning an 18-month contract when he arrived on Wearside in January.
And securing Sam Allardyce’s future has been on Sunderland’s agenda for several weeks, amidst growing speculation over his chances of landing the England job.
Allardyce has emerged as the leading homegrown candidate to replace departed England manager Roy Hodgson after widespread reports yesterday that he is on the Football Association’s list of contenders.
The FA are thought to favour an overseas coach to take the reins, yet there is increased backing for the Sunderland manager, who missed out on the job to Steve McClaren 10 years ago.
But even before the England job became vacant, Sunderland are understood to have been exploring the possibility of tying Allardyce down to a new contract.
Chairman Ellis Short enjoys an excellent working relationship with Allardyce - unlike some of his predecessors - and abolished the ill-feted director of football system last season to accommodate the ex-West Ham boss.
However, Allardyce has never made any secret of his desire to be England manager and admits that one of his career regrets is missing out on the job in 2006.
The speculation linking Allardyce with England is not likely to disappear quickly though.
A three-man panel - chief executive Martin Glenn, vice-chairman David Gill and director of elite development Dan Ashworth - are due to report to the FA’s summer meeting on July 22 about a potential successor to Hodgson.