LEE CONGERTON is in line to become Sunderland’s new director of football, the Echo understands.
The Black Cats have taken their time considering various options to replace Roberto De Fanti after the Italian was sacked in January, just six months into his tenure at the Stadium of Light.
But Sunderland have been keen to persist with the director of football model and Hamburg technical director Congerton is believed to be the man they have chosen to replace De Fanti.
Former Chelsea chief scout Congerton has impressed Sunderland’s hierarchy and he is now expected to be appointed at the Stadium of Light.
Crucially, it is also understood that head coach Gus Poyet has had a say in Congerton’s appointment and is happy to work alongside him.
Poyet did the majority of Sunderland’s January transfer work with chief executive Margaret Byrne, but was conscious of the workload demands.
And the former Brighton manager hinted last month that Sunderland were likely to appoint a new director of football after their Capital One Cup final commitments were concluded.
Welshman Congerton, who was linked with a similar role at West Brom 18 months ago, climbed the ranks at Chelsea - working with the club’s Under-19 side before eventually being promoted to the chief scout role under then technical director Frank Arnesen.
When Arnesen joined Hamburg in 2011, Congerton followed him to the Bundesliga and he has built an impression reputation in Germany.
It is thought that he has always been Sunderland’s principle target to replace De Fanti and certainly has better credentials for the role than the dismissed ex-agent.
Former Leeds United technical director Gwyn Williams, who was responsible for taking Poyet to Chelsea during his playing days, had also been linked with the job.
But it is understood that Williams was never seriously in the running for the post.
Sunderland chairman Ellis Short continues to believe the director of football system will provide greater success for the Black Cats in the transfer market.
Short appointed De Fanti during the summer after questioning the money Sunderland had invested in players, without the club reaping any significant rewards.
And it is hoped that Congerton, together with Poyet, can find better value for money in the market.