Sunderland are reported to be in talks with Aberdeen over a compensation package for Dons manager Derek McInnes.
The Black Cats are hoping to appoint the Scot as successor to compatriot David Moyes, who quit his post following Sunderland’s relegation from the Premier League last month.
McInnes has been touted as Sunderland’s top candidate for the job almost ever since Moyes left and the Sunderland Echo report that the club are now talking to Aberdeen about a compensation package.
Martin Bain, Sunderland’s chief executive, is said to have received a positive reference on McInnes from former Rangers and Scotland manager Walter Smith on his suitability for the role and it is reported that the Scottish Premiership side will be due around £1m in compensation should their manager choose to swap the Granite City for the north-east of England.
Under McInnes, Aberdeen have finished second to Celtic in each of the last two seasons in Scotland’s top flight. This season, they reached both domestic cup finals north of the border, only to lose to Brendan Rodgers’ side on both occasions.
They were swept aside 3-0 in the League Cup in November but only a last-gasp strike from Tom Rogic gave Celtic victory in last month’s Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park.
With some of his key players set to leave Pittodrie this summer, McInnes may feel now is the right moment to call time on his spell at Aberdeen and Sunderland appear set to make him a formal offer in the coming days.
Sunderland are 15.00 to win the Championship title next season.