Sunderland are eager to keep the foundations laid down by Sam Allardyce in place, IF the Black Cats boss is appointed England manager.
The frustrating waiting game to end the uncertainty over Allardyce’s future continues, with the FA still holding talks with potential candidates over the England job, amidst speculation yesterday that USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann is next in line to be interviewed for the role.
Sunderland are hopeful that the situation will be resolved by the end of next week, with chairman Ellis Short furious at the timing of the FA’s approach after the Black Cats were determined to fulfil the long-cherished hope of a stable future.
But Sunderland are inevitably having to plan for contingency options in case Allardyce departs after the 61-year-old held talks with the FA earlier this week.
If Sunderland are left searching for a seventh manager in the space of less than five years, then the Black Cats are aware of the need for some kind of continuity.
In just nine months at the Stadium of Light, Allardyce has overseen a vastly-improved structure and training regime behind the scenes at the club after becoming the first ‘manager’ – rather than head coach – appointed since Martin O’Neill.
Sunderland’s scouting set-up – under the control of head of recruitment Martin Glover – is much more thorough, while the data analysis introduced by Allardyce has seen the Black Cats squad become far fitter and less injury prone.
Bookies favourite David Moyes is the obvious candidate to offer continuity, and he has been on Short’s wish-list on at least two previous occasions.
Similarly, Sean Dyche – who came close to becoming Sunderland boss last summer – has been able to build a solid structure at Burnley.
However, Sunderland’s clear preference is for Allardyce to remain at the club and for England to appoint an alternative candidate.
Allardyce, himself, returned to his desk at the Academy of Light on Wednesday and continues his work to secure a transfer breakthrough for Sunderland.
But the big hurdle for the Black Cats is the uncertainty over the managerial situation and how that affects Sunderland’s business in the market.
Reports yesterday suggested West Brom could hijack a move for Sunderland’s main target, Diafra Sakho, after the West Ham striker has been keen to reunite with Allardyce on Wearside.
As the Echo reported earlier this week, the Baggies, Watford and Crystal Palace have all been interested in Sakho, although the Hammers are maintaining their stance that the 26-year-old won’t depart until they have landed a replacement frontman.