David Moyes, his future and the rebuild
According to the Telegraph, David Moyes has met with Sunderland owner Ellis Short and chief executive Martin Bain to discuss his future and outline what he feels is necessary to rebuild the club into a Championship promotion contender.
The report claims Moyes has warned the Black Cats hierarchy there will need to be sweeping changes at Sunderland to stand a realistic chance of bouncing back into the Premier League.
Supposedly the 54-year-old Scot also retains Short's broad support but that the American will now mull over Moyes' demands and reconvene in a fortnight to confirm next steps.
For his part, Moyes is understood to be wary of committing himself to Sunderland following a dreadful season in which his reputation has sunk to a career-low. Having lost the support of fans on Wearside, the Black Cats' boss has endured weeks of negative and derogatory headlines which have no doubt stung him.
The former Everton and Manchester United manager will also be determined to thrash out and confirm the details of any strategy having already had his fingers burned by Short since he joined the club last July.
Moyes was appointed boasting of certain 'assurances' he had been given by the billionaire financier only to complain just a few months later that he would never have taken the job had he known the club was up for sale and that his transfer budget would be pulled ahead of the January transfer window.
The Telegraph report also indicates that the Sunderland manager has lined up deals for a number of players but requires Short to give the green light to a summer clearance and subsequent rebuild.
The article’s author, Luke Edwards, also claims Moyes has been 'shocked' by the attitude of some of the players he inherited at the Stadium of Light with hints emerging elsewhere of just how rotten some have been.
West Ham boss refuses to be drawn on Jermain Defoe
Slaven Bilic has refused to be drawn on whether West Ham are pursuing a summer move for Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe.
The 34-year-old England veteran will be free to leave Sunderland at the end of the season due to a release clause in his contract triggered by relegation.
At his press conference this afternoon, Bilic was asked if he was interested in signing Defoe but declined to answer instead insisting he would only take questions on the Hammers' upcoming match against title-challengers Tottenham.
Micky Gray demonstrates the breadth of his Sunderland knowledge - again
Cutting an increasingly absurd figure on radio station TalkSport, former Sunderland left-back Michael Gray has launched another rant about his old club.
This time the 42-year-old pundit has identified those players he believes the Black Cats would be wise to let go in the summer.
Whilst we can give him Steven Pienaar and Jack Rodwell, calling for the axe to swing on record-signing Didier Ndong who has been Sunderland's third-best player in an admittedly dire season shows how many matches involving his former club Gray has likely watched.
Indeed such is his reputation in Africa, Ndong has just been named as Gabonese Sports Personality of the Year in his home country. The Sunderland record-signing pipped Borussia Dortmund superstar Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the award.
But it's the names Gray suggests Sunderland keep which truly mark Micky out as a man to switch off. Whilst we can agree on Bryan Oviedo and Billy Jones at a push, identifying loanees Javi Manquillo and Jason Denayer who are poised to return to their parent clubs as 'ones to retain' is stretching it, as is the perma-rank Lamine Kone who simply must be cashed-in before his value plummets any further.
Inter banking on Alvarez cash from Sunderland
FC Internazionale Milano and Sunderland AFC have been expecting a Court of Arbitration in Sport ruling in their long-running dispute over midfielder Ricardo Alvarez since March.
Indeed, with the initial hearing held in December to consider the evidence presented by both parties over the Argentinian's failed transfer to Sunderland, the continuing unexplained delay over news of the judgement is a curious one.
With Sunderland posting continuing losses in the most recent public accounts which are due to be published in full any day now, and Inter possessing equally compelling reasons for needing the cash, the lingering arbitration process which has now run for almost two years is aiding no one.
Indeed, Inter are desperate to learn the outcome and hope to see the colour of Sunderland's money as quickly as possible to help them meet Financial Fair Play requirements imposed on them.
The Supervisory Committee of UEFA has imposed an end-of-June deadline on the Milan club to reduce its budget deficit on player trading by €30m. If Inter fail to do so, they will face a further fine of €7m on top of earlier ones paid out.
With prospects for cashing in unwanted assets by the cut-off date diminishing, Internazionale are literally banking on a payment from Sunderland of up to €10.5m by the end of next month.