INTER Milan’s successful chief scout Valentino Angeloni is being lined up to replace Pop Robson at the Stadium of Light.
SportMail understands that the Italian’s potential appointment was in place before the end of the season but both Angeloni and Sunderland wanted to wait until the end of the campaign to know for certain which division the club were in before taking things a stage further.
Now Sunderland are expected to press ahead with the move which will see Sunderland recruit yet another Italian to the staff.
As well as head coach Paolo Di Canio and his assistant Fabrizio Piccareta and goalkeeping coach Domenico Doardo, Sunderland are also expected to confirm soon that football agent Roberto De Fanti will take up the position of Sunderland’s first Director of Football.
Now Angeloni appears to be on the verge of coming on board, replacing Pop Robson at the club as head of scouting, although the title he is likely to be given is Technical Director.
The move could well be good news for Sunderland with Angeloni having a reputation as one of Europe’s top scouts.
And his arrival would dovetail exactly with chairman Ellis Short’s plan of finding ways of bringing in talented, young players, developing them and then selling them on and replacing them if big enough offers came in.
Angeloni, like the vast majority of scouts, is a former player himself, having made more than 350 league appearances.
He played for Sampdoria and Lazio before injury at the Rome club forced him to hang up his boots.
After retiring, he made a name for himself as a scout at Torino.
But it was at Udinese where he really shone, implementing the ‘Udinese Model’ copied by clubs across Europe - which involves sourcing footballing prospects who could be brought in for modest fees, developed, give good service to the club, and then be sold on and replaced if major transfer bids were made for them.
The model – put into practice correctly – has been lauded as a perfect way for clubs to be successful without breaking the bank.
And with Ellis Short now restricted by financial fair play rules, and anyway, sceptical of the view that huge investment guarantees hug success, the Udinese Model has obvious appeal.
Among the players Angeloni is credited with bringing on are former Sunderland players Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan, as well as Alexis Sanchez, now at Barcelona, David Pizarro, now of Fiorentina and Vicenzo Iaquinta who was sold to Juventus.
Udinese made a £7m profit with their policy in the 2011-12 campaign and that led to Inter Milan poaching Angeloni.
But for whatever reason, he now appears to be attracted to a swift switch to Sunderland.
If he does come to Sunderland, it could mean a huge overhaul of the club’s scouting operation.
Angeloni had a £10m budget at Udinese and it will be interesting to see whether Short sanctions a substantial rise in investment in the scouting department at Sunderland.
If the American is prevented from investing heavily in signings this summer, either by financial fair play rules or his own approach to transfer expenditure, he might well feel it would be shrewder to invest in creating the conditions where the Udinese model could successfully be transferred to Sunderland.