Sunderland to sound out David Moyes as club plan for Sam Allardyce England departure
Sunderland have begun to make contingency plans to replace manager Sam Allardyce as fears rise he is on the verge of being offered the England job.
Allardyce met with Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain on Wednesday afternoon and has assured his current employer that has not been given any guarantees from the FA at this stage.
However, sources close to the negotiations have told Telegraph Sport that it is starting to look like Allardyce’s appointment is a “done deal.”
The Sunderland hierarchy were told by the FA when they formally asked to speak to Allardyce that they wanted to interview other candidates, but owner Ellis Short does not want the search for a new manager to begin from scratch if Allardyce does – as is now widely expected - take charge of the national team.
As a result, Telegraph Sport understands the club will make tentative enquiries, through intermediaries, to discover whether former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes would be interested in replacing Allardyce, who is likely to recommend the Scot if he does leave.
Given Moyes has been out of work since he was sacked by Real Sociedad in November last year, he is expected to welcome the approach. Other names under consideration are Burnley boss Sean Dyche, while former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs would be another contender, as he looks to take on his first management role since leaving Old Trafford earlier this month.
Interestingly, Alex Ferguson, who encouraged Giggs to leave Manchester United following the appointment of Jose Mourinho as manager, has often spoken of his admiration for Sunderland and welcomed Roy Keane’s decision to become their manager at this start of his coaching career.
Sunderland, though, are currently stuck in limbo and are increasingly worried they are about to lose the manager who saved them from relegation after just nine months on Wearside.
Allardyce was formally interviewed for the England job on Tuesday, but Sunderland had been informed by the FA that they were determined to “go through a proper process of elimination” and were expecting the process to take at least another week.
As a result, they expected Allardyce to focus on club matters and have been told he is working to secure their first signing of the summer.
The Black Cats were urged by the FA to keep their approach for Allardyce confidential, but Sunderland released a statement confirming the game’s governing body had formally requested to speak to the 61-year-old after he was photographed leaving the house of FA vice-chairman David Gill.
“The Football Association contacted Sunderland AFC to seek permission to speak with our manager as part of what was supposed to be a confidential discussion process with potential candidates for the position of England manager,” the statement read.
“At Sam Allardyce’s request, we agreed to this. Sam is very much key to our plans. After what was an extremely challenging season, we are keen to see a period of stability, both on and off the field, and we want him to remain as manager of our football club.
“The ongoing speculation over Sam’s position is extremely damaging to Sunderland AFC, particularly at this crucial time of the season and we urge the FA to respect the disruption that this process is causing and bring about a swift resolution to the matter.”
Sunderland are finding it difficult to sign players because of the uncertainty surrounding their manager, and if he is going to leave, they would prefer it to happen quickly.
Telegraph Sport understands the FA have not made a final decision, but they have, so far, not tried speak to either Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe or Hull City boss Steve Bruce, who were the other names on their shortlist.
It is also thought Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger remains in the FA’s thoughts, but they do not want to wait for another 12 months for the Frenchman’s contract with the Gunners to expire.
Allardyce, therefore, appears to be the overwhelming favourite and has heavyweight support in the shape of Ferguson, as well as the head of the League Managers’ Association Richard Bevan.