According to Spanish daily newspaper Sport, former Real Madrid assistant and recently sacked Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka could be in line for a return to English football with Sunderland.
The Barcelona-based outlet claim the 43-year-old will be on a short-list to replace David Moyes should the Scot decide to vacate the Stadium of Light hot-seat.
Moyes has indicated he will seek talks with Sunderland owner Ellis Short in the coming days to discuss his future after the 54-year-old saw his side relegated with defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday.
Reports since have speculated and contradicted each other on the likelihood that Moyes will remain in charge after the end of the season.
Certainly there was no mention of the former Everton and Manchester United boss in Short's statement on Saturday night as the American spoke of his 'sadness, disappointment, anger and frustration' at his club slipping into the Championship.
The Sunderland owner - who had hailed Moyes as the manager he had hoped to install at the Stadium of Light for years when he appointed him last July - also made mention of mistakes which have been made at the club, though he did highlight player, rather than managerial, recruitment as the biggest single issue which has led to relegation.
Moyes had insisted he would remain in charge next season come what may until a shift in tone at his weekly press conference before Saturday's game with Bournemouth. The present Sunderland boss has since talked of taking a decision over his future once the dust has settled from the Black Cats' confirmed drop.
Those reports in Spain also name Nigel Clough and Mike Phelan as the other speculative figures to be on any potential list of replacements for Moyes.
Certainly Karanka would bring with him knowledge of north east and Championship football as well as having a promotion to the Premier League on his CV following a three-and-a-half-year stint on Teesside.
Prior to his spell at Middlesbrough, the Spaniard was assistant to Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid before departing when Carlo Ancelotti replaced the now-Manchester United boss at the Bernabeu Stadium.
Renowned for a fiery temperament and defensive football, Karanka was dismissed a little over six weeks ago and replaced by former Black Cats' midfielder Steve Agnew at the Riverside.
In typical Sunderland fashion, last week's defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough halted a dismal run of six games without a win for the Teessiders' new boss who has since overseen a hard-earned point against Manchester City at the weekend to keep hopes of salvation alive.
Presently David Moyes is rated as a 6/4 chance of being the next Premier League manager to leave his job. West Ham's Slaven Bilic is a little longer at 2/1 followed by Walter Mazzarri at 5/1.