Sunderland are DESPERATE to keep Dick Advocaat at the Stadium of Light after leading the Black Cats to Premier League survival.
Last night’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal ensured that Sunderland will play Premier League football next season after registering the point needed to mathematically remove the threat of relegation – leaving Hull and Newcastle to fight it out for the final relegation spot.
Head coach Advocaat has steered Sunderland to 12 points from his eight games in charge after penning a short-term deal at the Stadium of Light in March.
And the Echo understands that Sunderland chairman Ellis Short will now do everything in his power to keep Advocaat at the club for next season, in a bid to produce some stability after three successive near brushes with relegation.
When Advocaat first agreed to join Sunderland, it was done with an understanding that he would return to his native Holland in the summer and retire with his wife.
This is the moment for Sunderland to do something. You cannot buy for £40 million eight players. You have to try to get more quality in your squad, more competitionDick Advocaat
But such has been Advocaat’s impact in securing Sunderland’s Premier League status, it has convinced the club’s hierarchy that the 67-year-old should remain at the helm.
That will allow Short and sporting director Lee Congerton – who has an excellent relationship with Advocaat – the chance to improve the squad and identify a long-term successor to the ex-Holland manager.
The sticking point is whether Advocaat is willing to prolong what will be his last job in football.
He remained coy on his future after a torturous spectacle at the Emirates and reiterated that he will make a decision on whether to continue his Sunderland tenure when he meets with Short next week.
“I will give an answer on that next week,” he said last night.
But Advocaat is clearly thinking about what lies ahead for Sunderland after insisting that the club needs to use Premier League survival as the springboard to improve the quality of the squad this summer, following yet another nail-biting battle with the drop.
He said: “This is the moment for Sunderland to do something.
“You cannot buy for £40 million eight players. You have to try to get more quality in your squad, more competition.
“That’s how you make the team stronger.
“We have one owner, but we don’t have the money that the majority of clubs have.
“We have to be very proud of what he has done.
“He has spent millions on the team, but the quality was not always there, but hopefully he can now start with another set-up, bringing in fewer players but more quality.”