Chris Wilder has emerged as one of the frontrunners for the Sunderland manager's job after a weekend of speculation at Sheffield United.
Boardroom unrest at Bramall Lane has seen the 50-year-old warn he could walk away if there is no quick resolve to the situation.
Despite leading his hometown club to the League One title last season, Wilder has grown frustrated by the boardroom battle going on at the Blades, admitting difficulties between co-owners HRH Prince Abdullah binMusa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Kevin McCabe are threatening to make his position untenable.
Prince Abdullah, who acquired a 50 per cent stake in United five years ago, has launched a takeover attempt and the issue shows no sign of being resolved soon.
Wilder is a manager whose stock is high. He achieved success at Oxford United, so is well known to prospective new Sunderland owner Stewart Donald, who is a fan, sponsor and previous investor at the U's.
Ironically, it is his experience at Oxford - where he was caught in the middle of ownership issues - that has seen Wilder warn that he could walk away from Sheffield United, despite taking them to the brink of the Championship play-offs this season.
Wilder wants to remain at the club he supported as a boy but said: "Like anybody else, you’ve always got a decision if you don’t agree with what’s going on above you.
“Nobody has got a gun to my head to manage this football club. I’ve had it before when I’ve been at a football club and didn’t enjoy it. Where I thought ‘what am I doing here?’ I won’t make that mistake again.
“I stayed when I had a chance to get out. I won’t make that mistake again.
“It just needs to be sorted. You can’t have two owners where what’s going off is going off. It isn’t about money. I’ve worked without money.
“If someone comes in and puts the prices up to ridiculous amounts, the boxes and the season tickets, then says we can pay players £40,000 a week and the club ends up in a perilous position, I won’t do that.
“I just need to know where we are going. Is one taking over? Are they working together? What is the expectation? What do you want to achieve? I just want to know that.”
It has left Blades fans and pundits worried that Wilder will be courted by other clubs, including Sunderland under the new ownership of an international consortium fronted by Donald.
A flurry of bets on the 50-year-old saw SkyBet install him as 7/4 favourite to replace the sacked Chris Coleman.
Writing in the Sheffield Star, Matt Smith said: "Let’s say you are the new owner of a once-mighty team with a huge and fanatical fan-base and money to spend, who would you be looking at to get you promoted? Only Neil Warnock is a better bet than Wilder and he’s 70 this year.
"Unless Cardiff City miss out on promotion and decide that Warnock has ‘taken us as far as he can’ then Wilder is the man Sunderland will be looking at."