Dick Advocaat has stepped down as Sunderland head coach in a surprise development that could spark renewed interest in Paul Clement.
Advocaat told Sunderland last night that he would not be signing a two-year deal and is retiring from club management, a week after guiding the club to Premier League safety.
The 67-year-old has spent the past three days in Holland considering the offer from chairman Ellis Short, but is sticking to his pledge that Sunderland would be his last job in domestic football.
Sunderland are now expected to make a late attempt to hijack Derby County's move to appoint Real Madrid assistant manager Clement.
Clement worked with Sunderland's sporting director Lee Congerton at Chelsea and is understood to have been one of the club's leading targets if Advocaat opted to end his spell.
Congerton will lead the recruitment process and is likely to consider the 43-year-old for the position, though he will have to act quickly as Derby are hoping to name Clement as Steve McClaren's successor.
Derby's move for Clement is advanced and the Championship club are close to completing his appointment, possibly before the weekend. But Congerton's relationship with him could prove pivotal and contact is believed to have been made.
Clement has never worked as a manager or head coach before but has established an impressive reputation working alongside Carlo Ancelotti, who was dismissed by Real Madrid this week. (© Daily Telegraph, London)