Michael Graham: Top 3 Picks For Next Manager

Lars Baron

This again? Already?!? Ah man. Go on, then...

1. Roberto Di Matteo

Okay, so it seems like the obvious choice, but that doesn't make it a poor one.

I have to admit that I have my reservations about the Italian's brand of football. To take the talent at Chelsea's disposal and deploy them defensively take a special brand of conviction. You can see why the novelty wore off him somewhat at Stamford Bridge.

But for Sunderland, I would welcome a manager to come in and inject a similar brand of almost cynical, efficient football.

His record proves that he doesn't really lose many games, and I couldn't be more sick of losing games if they came with a compulsory rectum exam.

The big attraction, though, is that you could see him seamlessly slotting into the current structure at the club. It appears that De Fanti is here to stay and the fact he speaks three languages can't be a bad thing in our current set-up.

2. Rene Meulensteen

Possibly the most interesting name on the list because he has been untouched by failure.

Meulensteen has just come off a long stint as a key part of Sir Alex Ferguson's staff at Old Trafford and is renowned for being a fine coach and astute tactician - a true student of the game.

If he had a little more background being the main man at a club, he would probably be my number one choice, but regardless of that he satisfies a lot of the criteria I think we are looking for. He knows the English game inside out, he knows how to work with big egos around him, and he has a track record at developing and improving young players.

Add that he is also out of work at the moment, and he suddenly becomes quite an attractive package.

3. Thomas Schaaf

I couldn't let this pass without having a little peak in my beloved Bundesliga.

What Sunderland perhaps need more than anything right now is some stability; someone who can dig in at a club for the long haul. It sounds easy, but it isn't.

52-year-old Schaaf is certainly that. He is a one-club man, first as a player and then enjoyed a 14-year stint as Werder Bremen manager, during which he delivered a lot of success including a league title, 5 other major trophies, and 6 years of Champions League football.

There are question marks over him tactically, especially having failed to adjust his midfield diamond formation to the demands of the modern-day clogged midfield area, but he has shown capacity for change and variation there. You also have to wonder if he is simply an institutionalised man given he is completely untested away from Bremen.

That said, it is certainly an intriguing option.

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