Sunderland have been linked with a move for Patrick Vieira as they weigh up their head coach options.
The Black Cats are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table after another disastrous start to the season.
Director of football Lee Congerton and owner Ellis Short persuaded Dick Advocaat to return to manage the club in the summer after he saved them from relegation last term.
But Vieira has emerged as a possible replacement for the Dutchman – either this season, if results don’t improve, or next summer when Advocaat’s contract expires.
The French legend is working with Manchester City’s second string, and was also linked with the top job at Newcastle before Steve McClaren’s appointment.
And a national newspaper today claimed he had been on Sunderland’s hitlist in the summer before Advocaat’s U-turn.
The report also says Sunderland have been in contact with Man City about speaking to Vieira, while Sean Dyche and Sam Allardyce are also options for the club’s next boss.