Dick Advocaat is open to working in a consultancy role for Sunderland IF he opts against extending his tenure as head coach.
Sunderland expect to discover today whether Advocaat will go ahead with his plans to retire this summer, or if he will agree to the Black Cats’ contract offer to remain at the Stadium of Light.
But first I must decide whether to stay as head coach.
Sources close to Advocaat have indicated that the 67-year-old would like to prolong his first taste of the Premier League, but the fear among Sunderland’s hierarchy is that he will struggle to persuade his family to postpone his retirement plans.
But if Advocaat does depart, there have been suggestions that Sunderland utilise the ex-Holland manager’s vast experience as a consultant.
In response to that idea, Advocaat said: “If I don’t stay (as head coach), that is a possibility.
“But first I must decide whether to stay as head coach.
“And that depends on a few things, some football-related and some not.”
Certainly, Advocaat has hugely impressed both owner Ellis Short and sporting director Lee Congerton by the impact he has made over the last two months, and the club would be open to retaining his services in some capacity, even if it is merely recommending a successor.
But Sunderland’s primary hope is that Advocaat agrees to become head coach, either just for next season or the lucrative two-year contract that has been offered to him.
If Advocaat does retire though, then Congerton knows he faces a race against time to appoint a new boss as soon as possible, with the close season so short this year and Sunderland’s squad returning for pre-season training at the start of July.
Congerton has been fielding enquiries from several prospective managers over recent weeks, but the club’s focus has been on keeping hold of Advocaat after seeing the impact he made in leading Sunderland to Premier League survival.
Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement had been on Sunderland’s radar after the dismissal of Gus Poyet, yet there is a feeling now that the club needs an experienced head coach to usher in a period of stability following a third successive near-brush with relegation.
Clement has no experience of front-line management, and is now expected to join Championship outfit Derby County, who dismissed ex-England boss Steve McClaren earlier this week.
However, as reported earlier this month, Sam Allardyce is not thought to be on Sunderland’s radar, due to the club’s head coach / director of football management structure.
Allardyce has also stated that he will have a break from football after leaving West Ham following the end of his contract at Upton Park.