SUNDERLAND are ready to hand Gustavo Poyet a new contract to stay at the Stadium of Light amid fresh talk of him leaving Wearside this summer.
Just weeks after being touted as a potential replacement for Sam Allardyce at West Ham United, Poyet is among the names believed to be under consideration to be approached at Southampton.
The Saints have started their search for a new manager after accepting the resignation of Mauricio Pochettino, who signed a five-year deal to become Tottenham boss last night.
Southampton are looking for a successor with similar ideas of how to develop the St Mary’s club to Pochettino and Poyet spoke at length last season of his admiration for the way they play.
Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger said: “We will be looking for a manager who shares our values, our principles and our philosophy; a manager who can continue to grow the first team and build on our strong foundation – a foundation led by and ambitious vision and plan that continues to build on our world-class academy and our amazing 129-year heritage.”
Former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay, Turkey’s Murat Yakin, ex-Swansea boss Michael Laudrup as well as Steve McClaren are all among the favourites for the Southampton post.
But Poyet’s situation and success at Sunderland has made him a strong candidate to be targeted by the Saints. With just one year remaining on the contract he signed in October, the former Brighton boss has been a name linked with many of the jobs that have cropped up, including one at his former club Real Zaragoza.
Sunderland do not want to lose him, although he made no secret of his desire to have a greater say on transfer dealings after confirmation in March that Lee Congerton had been appointed as the club’s sporting director.
Poyet’s links to the south, having previously managed at Brighton and spent more than a decade in London, have led to regular links to possible job vacancies in that area and Southampton is the latest.
The successful way he led Sunderland to Premier League safety has also been noted across the country, while he guided the team to the Capital One Cup final at Wembley.
He has big ambitions and Sunderland are keen to tie the South American down to a longer term deal, having realised the job he done in reviving a dressing room in such disarray following the six-month Paolo Di Canio reign.
Sunderland will be keen to head in to the summer with a clear plan and having Poyet’s future secure can only assist that as they look to agree terms with a number of players.
Contract offers have already been tabled for Jack Colback and Seb Larsson, who are set to become free agents on July 1.
Congerton is pressing ahead with potential deals for new players, with Poyet understood to have had a say on those which have led to interest in goalkeeper Julian Speroni and Costel Pantilimon.
The Sunderland transfer decision makers could yet have to decide on bids for players already at the club. River Plate are understood to be keen to take Ignacio Scocco back to Argentina, although the forward would like to prove himself on the Premier League stage after a poor start.