FORMER Sunderland target Will Still has been confirmed as the new head coach of French club Lens.

Still, who held talks with Sunderland officials over the head-coach vacancy at the Stadium of Light at the end of last month, has signed a three-year deal with Lens, who finished seventh in Ligue 1 last season.

The 31-year-old managed in the French top-flight with Reims last season, and was identified as Sunderland’s preferred candidate to replace Michael Beale on a permanent basis.

He was offered the position after constructive talks with Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman, but backed out when he was approached by Lens.

Discussions with the Lens hierarchy took place at the start of this month, and he was confirmed as the club’s new boss this morning.

Lens general director, Pierre Dreossi, said: “We are delighted with the arrival of Will Still at Racing Club de Lens. Will was our top priority to take up the position of coach start the new cycle that is beginning at the club.


“Will is not only a promising coach who has broken records because of his youth, he is a unifying personality obsessed with winning, a real enthusiast and a fine tactician.

“Will Still left his mark on Stade de Reims, where he obtained excellent results, notably a historic run of 19 matches without defeat. We are happy to welcome Will, his leadership and his energy.”