Sunderland need to make up to half-a-dozen “quality” summer signings, if they are to persuade Dick Advocaat to remain at the Stadium of Light.
Owner Ellis Short is desperate for Advocaat to extend his tenure at Sunderland and has made the ex-Netherlands manager an offer to postpone his retirement after leading the club to Premier League survival.
Advocaat is tempted by Sunderland’s proposal, with the commitment shown by the Black Cats’ players, coupled with the dedication of the club’s supporters, attracting him to the possibility of staying put.
But there are two sticking points.
The 67-year-old – who insists Sunderland will be his last job – has to persuade his wife to allow him to continue on Wearside after they had been planning to retire to a newly-built home in the Dutch countryside this summer.
And Advocaat also wants assurances from next week’s meetings with Sunderland’s hierarchy that there will be sufficient investment in the starting XI during the close season.
Advocaat is well aware of the money that has been squandered in the transfer market by Sunderland over the last four years, and says recruits are needed who will immediately improve the pedigree of the side.
“This squad needs four, five or six regulars – not quantity, but quality,” he said.
“If they cannot do that, OK, but then I definitely will not stay.
“That’s one part of the cake, the other part (his wife) is more difficult!
“We cannot spend hundreds of millions, but we can do it like Southampton, like Swansea and Stoke.
“You don’t need to only buy quantity, you have to buy in quality, otherwise keep the money in your pocket.
“You can waste your money easily.
“I think in the past, there’s been too much focus here on quantity, rather than players who make the team better.
“That’s the most important thing in my opinion.”
However, Advocaat does not expect next week’s discussions to drag on, and has vowed to tell Sunderland either way on Thursday.
That will allow him some breathing space to talk about the situation with his other half.
“I have to discuss some things with the family, first of all,” he added.
“The club has to go on and I will tell them on Thursday, because I have to give the other part (his wife) some days to think, otherwise I have no chance at all!”