Sunderland could face managerial competition while forward discusses future

Michael Appleton is a contender to take charge at West Brom, according to the Daily Mail.

Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 10:18 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 10:21 am
Leicester City assistant Michael Appleton
Leicester City assistant Michael Appleton

Appleton, currently assistant to Claude Puel at Leicester City, is a candidate for the vacancy at Sunderland should he decide his future lies away from the King Power Stadium and Steward Donald's takeover is approved.

He is a highly-rated coach who won promotion to League One with Oxford United and narrowly missed out on the play-offs thereafter. He also twice took them to the Checkatrade Trophy final.

Puel is facing a uncertain future after replacing Craig Shakespeare earlier in the season. It was Shakespeare who brought Appleton back to the club when he was promoted to replace Claudio Ranieri.

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Appleton has strong roots at West Brom, where he has played and been in charge as caretaker manager.

The Baggies are searching for a permanent replacement to Alan Pardew, though Darren Moore has impressed in a temporary capacity. Brentford boss Dean Smith is also said to be in the frame.

Appleton is one of a number of candidates Sunderland would consider, but no appointment is likely until the EFL approve Donald's buyout.

Chris Wilder is another manager who is admired, facing an uncertain future at Sheffield Untied and also linked with West Brom in recent times.

Mick McCarthy is another featuring high in the bookmakers list and his formidable track record at Football League level is sure to appeal.

Whoever takes charge will be faced with leading a significant squad overhaul, with Wahbi Khazri the latest to state his desire to move on this summer.

The Black Cats will be keen to offload the Tunisian this summer. He is a significant earner and will not see his wages automatically cut as a result of relegation to League One. Sunderland will hope his superb form for Rennes this season, as well as his presence at the World Cup this summer, means he will attract significant interest.

The 27-year-old has hinted he would be happy to stay at Rennes but also has his eyes on a Champions League club.

He told French radio station RMC: "Sunderland are going down to the third division, so it would surprise me if I stay there.

"It is a possibility [staying at Rennes]. I am not closing any doors. I am open to everything and listening to everything. I think that my advisers had to contact the leaders at Rennes, but they do not necessarily keep me informed because they know that I have other priorities at the moment.

"I would love to play in the Champions League and see what I can do at that level. I think I am able to perform at the level, but saying it is one thing and doing it is another."