Sunderland boss David Moyes is to hold crunch talks with owner Ellis Short and chief executive Martin Bain as the relegation fall-out continues.
The Sunderland boss has given mixed messages over his own future in recent days, with the club relegated to the Championship after the 1-0 home defeat to Bournemouth.
Moyes told TV reporters he wanted to bounce back with Sunderland but said it was not the time to discuss his own future with the written press, leading to further speculation over his future plans and whether he will be in charge next season.
And as the Scot weighs up his future on Wearside, reports have today emerged in Spain that former Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka is keen on a return to management in England and could be in the frame should Moyes depart Sunderland this summer.
The Spaniard left Middlesbrough under a cloud this season with Boro fans frustrated by his tactics and style of play but he did win promotion from the Championship with the Teessiders during his time in charge.
Two other names mentioned in the report are Nigel Clough and Mike Phelan.
Sunderland have kept faith with Moyes this season despite the club's struggles on the pitch and post-Bournemouth, Moyes said he will meet with Short and Bain in the coming days and weeks to assess Sunderland’s plans to bounce back from the drop.
Moyes has discussed improving Sunderland’s failures in recruitment in recent days and the scale of the rebuild that will be needed as a significant number of players prepare to leave the club, but also refused to commit to the post beyond the season.
Speaking after the 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth that relegated Sunderland to the Championship, Moyes said: "I’m going to sit down with Ellis, and I’ll sit down with Martin, and have a talk with them over the coming days and weeks.
"We now know we have to put a plan in place, and I have to look and see there’s a plan to get us bouncing back up. That will be the key.
"At the moment, I’m fine, I’m just trying to take it in. It’s not nice, and it doesn’t feel good.
"More importantly, I feel bad for the punters who are not going to see their team in the Premier League next year.
"I’ve managed in the Championship before, but again, I don’t think now would be the right time to talk about that.
"We’re more concerned with the people who follow the club, and they’re obviously disappointed, just as we are as well."