Sporting director Lee Congerton leaves Sunderland role

Lee Congerton
Lee Congerton
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Lee Congerton's time at Sunderland has now effectively come to an end - two months after he decided to leave the Stadium of Light.

Congerton handed in his notice at the same time as Dick Advocaat's resignation in October after the sporting director had grown frustrated with the limitations of his role at the club.

He continued to hold down that position in the early stages of Sam Allardyce's tenure after helping in the appointment of the Sunderland boss, but weekend reports that the ex-Hamburg man is now on gardening leave while he serves the remainder of his notice, are accurate.

The Echo understands that Congerton has not been involved in Sunderland's planning and early negotiations for the January transfer.

And neither has Congerton been involved in recent contract negotiations for players in the Under-21 squad, with academy director Ged McNamee representing the club.

Congerton's exit is likely to spell the end of Ellis Short's experiment with a director of football system, with Allardyce notably appointed as Sunderland manager, rather than head coach.

Allardyce had been happy to work alongside Congerton in his first few months at the club - believing that Sunderland needed as much help as possible to bring in reinforcements capable of improving the squad.

But it has been Allardyce taking the lead on Sunderland's discussions over the January window, with chief executive Margaret Byrne and club secretary Ryan Sachs handling the administration of any potential deals.

Allardyce has personally been watching potential transfer targets, with Sunderland looking to bring in a new centre-half and centre-forward next month.

Schalke defender Joel Matip is the latest player to be linked with a move to the Stadium of Light after Sunderland have watched the Cameroon international on several occasions.

Matip is approaching the final six months of his contract at Schalke and would fit with Sunderland's search for cost-effective recruits in the New Year.

The 24-year-old is far from the only centre-half on Sunderland's hit-list though, with West Ham's James Collins and Lorient's Lamine Kone also on Allardyce's radar