Sunderland AFC news: Devastated players and why Alex Neil has left: What nationals are saying about Stoke City switch

Sunderland head coach Alex Neil is en route to take the job at Championship rivals Stoke City.

The move will likely prove to be a devastating blow for Sunderland, especially with just under a week still to go in the transfer window. That closes September 1.

Neil has been given permission to speak to the Potters about the vacant position and is the clear favourite with bookmakers to take charge at the bet365 Stadium.

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He took training at the Academy of Light on Friday as normal and is understood to have picked the team for the visit of Norwich City on Saturday lunchtime.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Sunderland manager Alex Neil reacts on the touchline during the Sky Bet Championship between Sunderland and Coventry City at Stadium of Light on July 31, 2022 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Neil then departed shortly before a rearranged pre-match press conference was planned for 2pm, with the club issuing a statement. Neil is then understood to have said his goodbyes and is now on his way to Stoke to finalise the deal.

But what are the nationals saying about the situation? Here, we take a look:

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The Telegraph – Sunderland players are “devastated”

Sunderland’s players have been led to believe that Neil will not take charge of the team again and are said to be devastated about his impending departure.

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The 41-year-old has been linked with the Stoke job before and not taken it, but there is widespread confidence that he will leave Sunderland for a new challenge less than a year into the job after meetings at the club's Academy of Light on Friday morning

Stoke are keen to exploit the fact Neil is only on a one-year rolling contract, as well as suggestions he is unhappy about the lack of financial support he has been offered on Wearside.

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Sky Sports – “Alex Neil in transit to Stoke for talks”

Alex Neil in transit to Stoke for talks. Told he held a meeting with the squad this morning & explained situation. Senior players have made it clear to club owners they want the manager to stay. Neil will hold face-to-face talks with Stoke hierarchy upon arrival.

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Told Alex Neil has said his goodbyes to the players, and the Sunderland manager was very emotional. He’s set to take over at Stoke as he felt Sunderland failed to back him in the transfer market.