Sunderland are set to appoint former Celtic chief scout John Park as their new Director of Football, according to reports.
The Daily Mail claim that Neil Lennon wanted Park to return to Celtic Park to work as a replacement for former Sunderland Sporting Director Lee Congerton who left the club last week to join up with Leicester City.
However the report claims that he has snubbed that chance and will instead sign a five-year deal at the Stadium of Light, with suggestions that he is the man to overhaul the club’s football operation.
Park worked for the Scottish champions between 2007 and 2016 and is credited with taking the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama, Ki Sung-Yueng, Fraser Forster and Tom Rogic to Celtic.
Speaking back in March about bringing van Dijk to Celtic, Park gave an insight into what drew him to the current Premier League player of the year:
I can remember most of the games I watched Virgil play in with Groningen and with the Holland Under-21 side. I remember first clapping eyes on him and being impressed in terms of what he had at that stage as a footballer.
I will be honest and admit that at that time we were comparing him with Mike van der Hoorn who would eventually move to Swansea from Ajax. Mike was at Utrecht at that time and we were doing comparisons with the pair of them.
We just felt Virgil was pound for pound miles better in terms of projecting him forward. There was that bit more scope in him and we felt there was so much more potential to being able to bring more to the table.
Virgil was a free spirit at Groningen. I quite like that in a player, someone who likes to gamble even though it will lead to the occasional mistake. I like to see young players trying something different.
And Virgil would attempt things which was a positive quality in my eyes. There are other young players who always play safe, it’s not something I like.
As the Stewart Donald continues negotiations to bring investors into the board room to provide some extra financial muscle, Park could have a bit of room to maneuver in the transfer market this summer.