Sunderland owner-in-waiting Stewart Donald wants club legend Kevin Phillips to return to the Stadium of Light to fill the vacant managerial position, according to a report from the Sun.
The Black Cats former boss Chris Coleman was sacked on Sunday with the club suffering a second successive relegation. Just hours later, Sunderland and owner Ellis Short revealed that a deal to sell the club to Stewart Donald had been agreed.
According to reports since, Short was forced into sacking Coleman and clearing debts of around £140m before Donald, the chairman of the National League club Eastleigh, agreed to buy the club.
According to the Daily Mail, the incoming chairman has promised to make some major cutbacks ahead of the new season. His first task will be to trim an annual wage bill of £35m with a number redundancies set to be made throughout the club, while the Black Cats could also lose their category one academy status.
As per the Sun, in an effort to get the fans back onside, Donald wants to appoint club legend Phillips as the new boss. The former striker made 208 appearances for Sunderland between 1997/2003 and scored a total of 113 goals.
After retiring from football in 2014, Phillips was offered a coaching role with Leicester City and remained at the King Power until 2015, when he was appointed as assistant coach to Paul Clement at Derby. This season, the Rams look to be heading into the playoffs, although current boss Gary Rowett will allow Phillips to return to his former club if any official approach is made.
The report also claims that another former Sunderland player, Alex Rae, who made 114 appearances for the club between 1996/2001, could be brought in as Phillips’ number two.