Former Chelsea chief scout Lee Congerton will become Sunderland’s new sporting director in the summer and Black Cats fans may just have inherited the next Brendan Rodgers or Real Madrid assistant manager Paul Clement.
Wearside’s finest are well placed in the relegation rat race, despite a bottom-three berth, with two or three games in hand on their rivals.
Having avoided defeat in eight of their last ten outings at the Stadium of Light they have a home record to rely on – one that can see them land odds of 21/20 in seeing off Crystal Palace this weekend.
It’s a win that will take them one step closer to survival, itself a 21/50 shot with bwin, paving the way for a Congerton-helmed squad overhaul in the summer.
The Welshman will see out the current campaign at Hamburg, a club he joined along with, and at the behest of, former Chelsea sporting director Frank Arnesen.
At the Imtech Arena Congerton has a responsibility for both player recruitment and the development of existing talent.
Unearthing new signings became much more difficult soon after joining the club, with the wage bill in much need of trimming.
Arnesen and his right-hand man have had to exercise all their guile to aid HSV in not falling out of the Bundesliga, including raiding old club Chelsea for players.
While the Rhyl native oversees the compilation of highly detailed dossiers on potential acquisitions, in the past he has suggested his role is merely to help his manager, telling the Guardian:
“…we don’t bring a player here that the coach doesn’t want – ultimately he has to play them in the team.
What we do is try to minimise the risk, so that we know the player and gather detailed information on them, because the coach also has to understand that the sporting director has a responsibility to the organisation.”
Yet Congerton also takes a hands-on role with performers already at the club, analysing issues with their technique and aiding coaching staff in helping them address the problems.