GUS POYET is being lined up for a sensational return to Sunderland after the Black Cats dismissed Phil Parkinson earlier today.

Parkinson’s 13-month reign at the Stadium of Light came to an end with Sunderland sitting in eighth position in the League One table, two places and two points off the play-off positions.

Former Middlesbrough defender Andrew Taylor has been placed in temporary charge ahead of Tuesday’s home game with Burton Albion, stepping up from his position of first-team coach, but the Black Cats are keen to appoint a new permanent manager as quickly as possible.

Today’s managerial developments happened at the same time as Juan Sartori and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus’ proposed buyout of Stewart Donald’s majority shareholding was nearing completion, and while Sunderland officials have refused to comment publicly on the takeover situation, the two events are understood to be connected.

Parkinson’s dismissal is part of a desire to reset a wide range of things at the Stadium of Light, with Sartori and Louis-Dreyfus hoping to get the green light to complete their takeover before the end of the week.

The EFL are understood to have begun the formal process of ratifying the change of ownership via their owners and directors’ test, with Sartori and Louis-Dreyfus set to purchase 80 per cent of Sunderland’s shareholding. Donald will retain a 15 per cent stake in the club, with former board member, Charlie Methven, holding on to his current five per cent stake.

Sartori and Louis-Dreyfus are expected to be involved in the search for a new manager, with their links to Poyet making the former Sunderland boss a strong early front-runner.

Poyet, who shares his Uruguayan nationality with Sartori, spent almost 18 months in charge of the Black Cats between October 2013 and March 2015. He led Sunderland to the League Cup final in his first season in charge, which also saw the club secure Premier League survival from a seemingly unpromising position.

He was dismissed with Sunderland in 17th position in the top-flight, and has subsequently spent time in charge of AEK Athens, Real Betis, Shanghai Shenhua and Bordeaux. He has been out of work since leaving his position in charge of Ligue 1 side Bordeaux in September 2018.

He has been linked with a possible return to Sunderland in the last few weeks, with confirmation of Sartori’s proposed buyout fuelling talk of a possible change of manager, and effectively put himself forward for the job last month when he was interviewed on the ‘Speaking Sunderland’ podcast.

“Could I return? Yes, of course,” said Poyet. “Because there are things that are still possible to change. It’s a different situation, but it’s something that…when you’ve been in a club and you’ve been so close to people and then everyone watches the series ‘Sunderland Til I Die’ and the first thing they do, is they call you and ask you (about it). You’ve been there, and it confirmed things you already told them because that’s what ‘Sunderland Til I Die’ does, confirms to people things I told them when I left Sunderland.

“It’s like, you want to go back because it’s typical South American passion, you know, the fans. So, that relationship we made with the fans, even if it didn’t finish in the best way, I am still thinking that it’s possible to do something important there. It’s easier when you know how much it (the club) means to the fans, how important it is to the city, so yeah, of course (he would go back).”

Former Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson has also been touted as a managerial option, along with Kevin Phillips, who remains a firm fans’ favourite thanks to his exploits on the field, and former Wigan manager Paul Cook, who was in the running to succeed Jack Ross before Parkinson was appointed.

Parkinson was dismissed having won 19 of his 47 matches in charge of Sunderland, a win ratio of just over 40 per cent.

A statement said: “Sunderland has parted company with manager Phil Parkinson. Assistant manager Steve Parkin also departs, and the club would like to place on record its thanks to both Phil and Steve for their efforts during their time at SAFC.”