Next Sunderland manager: The current status, pros and cons of the 8 realistic names linked with vacancy

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Sunderland are searching for a new head coach after Michael Beale’s departure in February

Sunderland’s search for a head coach continues and as a decision surely nears, we’ve taken a look at some of the names linked so far and assess the pros, cons and their current situations.

WILL STILL

PROS: Now has extensive coaching experience at a high level, having performed very creditably at Stade de Reims. Multilingual and is seen as one of the brightest up-and-coming head coaches in the game. Multi-lingual, which would clearly be an asset in the dressing room and on the training pitch at Sunderland. Is now available having left Stade de Reims and is known to be very keen to work in the UK next - and drop down to the Championship if necessary.

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CONS: Left Stade de Reims as a result of declining results, albeit heavily influenced by the departures of some key players over recent transfer windows.

CURRENT SITUATION: Though clearly a coach who was been very firmly on Sunderland's radar in recent times, there's been no significant contact up to this point this time around. Seems unlikely then, though things can of course change quickly. At this stage, looks more likely to be coaching against the Black Cats as a result - time will tell.

RENE MARIC

PROS: Similar to Still, has extensive experience coaching at elite level. Having worked at Red Bull clubs and now at Bayern Munich, has a strong understanding of how to implement the kind of front-foot, aggressive playing style Sunderland favour.

CONS: Has no experience as a head coach in senior football and so would represent a major risk, even more so with the stakes raised by Michael Beale's troubled tenure. Also no clear indications at this stage he's yet ready to depart Bayern Munich was his work has been highly rated.

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CURRENT SITUATION: Is understood to have been a very strong contender for the vacancy in the past but like Still, is yet to emerge as a serious frontrunner this time around. That perhaps reflects Sunderland searching for a touch more experience.

STEVE COOPER

PROS: Where to start? Exceptional track record both in terms of results and in developing young players - in that regard he is on paper the outstanding candidate in terms of Sunderland’s long-term plan. Also had an outstanding relationship with Nottingham Forest’s supporters.

CONS: Seems likely to wait for a top-tier job to become available, and would almost certainly be of interest to any teams with parachute payments who end up with a vacancy. His stature in the game would probably put him out of Sunderland’s budget and command a job where he’d have a far greater say in recruitment, etc.

CURRENT SITUATION: Still a free agent, but seems like a very long shot.

DANNY ROHL

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PROS: Has the elite coaching background Sunderland crave and has now proven his worth as a head coach with a remarkable rescue job at Sheffield Wednesday. Most impressively, has done that with an aggressive playing style and a complete buy-in from an experienced squad.

CONS: Finance. Those close to Wednesday say it would take a fee in the region of £5 million to land Rohl, and double that to bring in his backroom staff. Is also thought to have held positive talks over his future at the club with chairman Dejphon Chansiri, with a new contract potentially in the offing.

CURRENT SITUATION: Would now be a surprise to see him leave Sheffield Wednesday given the rapport he’s built there. Would certainly be out of Sunderland’s price range as it stands.

LIAM ROSENIOR

PROS: Championship experience, a possession-based style of play, a highly-regarded coach and proved himself to be a very impressive communicator during his stint in charge of Hull City, who he took from relegation danger to the brink of the play-offs in eighteen months.

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CONS: Couldn’t get over the line with Hull despite significant January investment, and there were those (most notably including the chairman) who felt the football could have been higher tempo.

CURRENT SITUATION: Is believed to have turned down the chance to speak to Plymouth about their vacancy but the Sunderland job would surely appeal. Now proven to be a fairly safe pair of hands at the level, but won’t have been in Sunderland’s initial lists when they began the process a couple of months back.

BO SVENSSON

PROS: Has managed at a high level in the Bundesliga, and was widely praised for his work at Mainz both in leading them away from the drop and then into the top half of the division. A club where many fine head coaches have worked and a playing style that would suit Sunderland’s desire for a high-energy approach.

CONS: No experience in the Championship though in fairness, plenty of recent examples to suggest that isn’t always a necessary factor for success. Left Mainz after a nine-game winless run earlier in the campaign.

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CURRENT SITUATION: A free agent after leaving Mainz earlier this season, was said to be in the running for the job at Salzburg but that has gone to Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders.

PAUL HECKINGBOTTOM

PROS: Has a promotion from the level on his CV at Sheffield United and while they benefited from parachute payments, it was far from a settled environment and so a very good achievement. Good player development record and knows the demands of the club having played in the academy.

CONS: Had a very difficult time at Sheffield United in the Premier League this season, albeit in a hugely challenging situation.

CURRENT SITUATION: Would be a surprise for him now to get the job, having been available when Tony Mowbray left and ever since that point. Would suggest Sunderland are now looking elsewhere but time will tell.

GUS POYET

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PROS: Very familiar with the club’s demands and has a track record of implementing an attractive, possession-based style of play.

CONS: No guarantees a return would bring a similar level of the initial success he had last time. Been out of club management for a while and has previously expressed reservations about the recruitment structure.

CURRENT SITUATION: Available after leaving his role as Greece boss and confirmed to The Echo recently that he is in regular talks with minority shareholder Juan Sartori. Says he expects to return to the club one day but at this stage, would be a surprise if it was now. Didn’t want to drop down to League One when he was last linked but seems to have a far stronger interest now.

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