Sunderland may go continental for new manager

Lee Congerton
Lee Congerton

Sunderland are keeping an open mind over Continental managerial options, as the search for a new head coach continues.

The Black Cats have been linked with a host of domestic candidates since Dick Advocaat’s decision to reject the chance to extend his tenure at the Stadium of Light seven days ago, but the club have also been casting their gaze further afield.

Experience, rather than nationality, is Sunderland’s main consideration.

Sporting director Lee Congerton, who spent three years working in the Bundesliga with Hamburg, is understood to have held talks with a prospective German candidate earlier this week.

That is not thought to be ex-Eintracht Frankfurt boss Armin Veh, who was linked with Sunderland over the weekend, before Advocaat poured cold water on the speculation during an appearance on Dutch television.

Experience, rather than nationality, is Sunderland’s main consideration over the next head coach after the club’s hierarchy witnessed the impact made by the hugely-decorated Advocaat during his two-month spell.

Advocaat, boasting a vast knowledge of European football, has been providing advice to Congerton and chairman Ellis Short over a potential successor. And it was Sunderland’s European scout, Hans Gillhaus, who first gave Congerton the idea to approach Advocaat back in March after the dismissal of Gus Poyet.

Congerton realises that the pressure is on him to find a replacement for Advocaat sooner rather than later, particularly with Sunderland needing to land up to half-a-dozen new signings in the summer transfer window.

But after six managers in the last five years, Sunderland also grasp the importance of landing the right candidate who will fit into the club’s head coach / director of football model.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche remains the favourite with the bookies for the role and is someone who Sunderland will consider as a possibility after he was in the running for the job prior to Gus Poyet’s appointment in October 2013.

Dyche is currently on holiday, yet Burnley insist they have not received any correspondence from Sunderland over the 43-year-old.

There are also question marks in Lancashire over whether Dyche would relocate to the North East, with his family based in the Midlands.