Sunderland should consider ex-Swansea City boss Michael Laudrup as a replacement for the departed Dick Advocaat, believes Black Cats legend Gary Rowell.
The Red and Whites are in the midst of considering contingency options for the head coach position after being dealt a blow by Advocaat’s decision to go ahead with his retirement plans and reject the offer of a contract extension.
Sunderland are spoilt for choice because there are almost as many managers out of work as in work. It depends which way the club wants to go – an experienced manager, or a young oneGary Rowell
Former Barcelona midfielder Laudrup is among the top five favourites for the job with the bookmakers and is available after leaving Qatari outfit Lekhwiya Sports Club earlier this week.
Newcastle and West Ham have also been linked with Laudrup – sacked as Swansea boss in February 2014 after a fall-out – even though the Dane has previously stated that he would only return to the Premier League to take charge of a top-half side.
But ex-Sunderland striker Rowell believes Laudrup would fit the club’s remit, as they search for a sixth manager in the space of five years.
Rowell said: “The one manager who I have really liked the look of over the last few years and has really impressed me is Michael Laudrup.
“He was a great player, did a really good job at Swansea and has got Premier League experience. He could walk into the dressing room and none of the players would be able to say ‘what did you do in your career’?
“Sunderland are spoilt for choice because there are almost as many managers out of work as in work. It depends which way the club wants to go – an experienced manager, or a young one.
“I’m sure there are plenty who would take it because it’s an attractive job.
“Even if Sunderland finish in mid-table next season, then the fans will be ecstatic.
“There is an average crowd of 40,000-plus, even though the going is not great and neither has been the football.
“But Ellis Short (Sunderland chairman) has to get this one right, whoever he picks.
“Sunderland are desperate for stability and a manager who can put down some roots for two or three years.”
Like the overwhelming majority of Sunderland fans, Rowell was disappointed to see Advocaat reject the club’s overtures to extend his stay after arriving on a short-term deal back in March.
But Advocaat leaves the club with his head held high after fulfilling his remit of keeping Sunderland in the Premier League. “You can’t take away the job that Dick Advocaat did,” added Rowell.
“It was an appointment that took me by surprise, but Sunderland only had one bad game under his management – the Crystal Palace defeat where the players were more to blame than the manager.
“He was given a precise job to fulfil and he did it.
“Sunderland were just above the bottom three when he arrived, but we were heading downwards and that is the hardest thing to reverse.
“But he stopped that and brought the best out of the players’ ability and restored their confidence.”