Di Matteo eyes up Newcastle United, but Sunderland don’t appeal

Roberto Di Matteo.
Roberto Di Matteo.

ROBERTO Di Matteo does not fancy the vacant Sunderland job, the Echo understands.

The former West Brom and Chelsea manager was installed as the early favourite to succeed Paolo Di Canio when the Black Cats’ head coach was ousted from his job on Sunday night.

But the Swiss-born Italian is unconvinced that the bottom-of-the-league club is the right move for him next, in the wake of having led Chelsea to Champions League success in his previous job.

Di Matteo was surprisingly sacked by Roman Abramovich last November, having given the Blues the Champions League trophy and the FA Cup in his eight months in charge.

The 43-year-old has spent the last 10 months taking a break from the game and considering his next challenge, and sources close to the Italian suggest he does not see Sunderland as it.

There have, though, been rumours that Di Matteo feels that Alan Pardew’s job at Newcastle United could soon come up and he is biding his time for that position.

Di Matteo has links to Sunderland through Roberto De Fanti.

He is an acquaintance of the Black Cats’ director of football and De Fanti is believed to have seen Di Matteo as the obvious choice to succeed Di Canio.

But, with Sunderland receiving no encouragement from the ex-Chelsea boss so far, the club is now casting its net far and wide.

Sources close to Gus Poyet have suggested the job is the ex-Brighton manager’s to turn down, but, although the Uruguayan is under consideration, Sunderland are still at the early stage of their selection process.

No appointment is likely before the weekendm with Kevin Ball expected to be in the dug-out for Sunday’s Premier League game against Liverpool and the ex-skipper could also be in charge when Manchester United visit next weekend.

Owner Ellis Short reacted quickly in removing Di Canio after Sunday’s player revolt showed that relations between the head coach and his players had broken down beyond repair.

But that has not allowed the club any time to prepare and immediately install a successor..

Short had already concluded that the Italian had to go after the a dreadful start to the season culminated in the 3-0 defeat at West Brom last Saturday.

But he and the board thought they would have the breathing space of the Liverpool and Manchester United games to find the right replacement as head coach.

The current situation is not ideal, but, with Kevin Ball – a candidate for the job himself – doing a fine job as interim head coach, the club is still likely to take its time and consider all options before replacing Di Canio.