With every passing week Sunderland fall deeper into the relegation mire, Dick Advocaat slides closer to the Stadium of Light exit door and another managerial change to inspire survival becomes more inevitable.
Indeed, Monday morning gossip columns suggest the Black Cats are considering ditching the Dutchman, who they so desperately lobbied to stay at the club after last season’s heroics, with Manchester City youth manager Patrick Vieira their next target.
According to the Daily Mirror, former Arsenal midfielder Vieira is the man the club want to replace Advocaat with and it would be a move totally in keeping with the club’s recent recruitment blueprint.
All of Sunderland’s last three managers have ridden the crest of a euphoric wave having engineered improbable safety from a seemingly doomed campaign, only to find a full season in charge an impossible task.
On each occasion, starting with Paolo Di Canio, moving to Gus Poyet and now with Advocaat, the club turned to an unlikely source to steady their ship and Vieira, who has never managed a first-team, would fit that trend.
Should the Frenchman take the reins, he would have a large portion of the Premier League season to negotiate, with 31 matches still to be played. Only Poyet was afforded that much time of the three Houdinis, taking charge in the eighth Premier League game of 2013/14.
Advocaat and Di Canio were handed eight and seven respective outings with which to retain Sunderland’s top-flight status. The former’s wealth of experience and latter’s vibrant personality were seen as perfect, but opposing, shots of adrenalin at the time.
With the club rooted to the foot of the division after a winless start though, the north east outfit are under increasing pressure to administer a far earlier dose, especially considering Vieira’s rawness in such a role.
Of course, the club may have the decision to sack the man they campaigned so hard for taken out of their hands. Advocaat has been adamant he will step aside should a better candidate come along. Whether he views Vieira as a superior alternative though, remains to be seen.
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