Sunderland will open talks with Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty after Aberdeen ‘reluctantly’ agreed to give the Black Cats permission.
The two clubs had been negotiation a compensation package to release the pair from the deals at Pittodrie, which had two years to run.
Aberdeen boss McInnes will now discuss personal terms with the Wearsiders and is set for a significant pay rise.
The 45-year-old is still on holiday in Florida, but Sunderland remain hopeful of making an official appointment later this week.
McInnes will seek assurances regarding his transfer budget for the Championship campaign ahead, but, at this stage, there are unlikely to be significant complications.
Aberdeen had been keen to try to keep hold of McInnes, with new major shareholder Dave Cormack saying they would move ‘heaven and earth’ to see off Sunderland’s interest.
He even suggested that the Scottish Premiership runners-up – beaten in both domestic cup finals last term – would seek to extend the former St Johnstone and Bristol City boss’s contract.
That now seems unlikely with the Dons, who have been bracing themselves for McInnes’s departure for a number of weeks, seemingly accepting defeat.
An Aberdeen statement yesterday said: “The club can confirm that early this afternoon Sunderland FC agreed to meet all the contractual obligations for both Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty and they have reluctantly been granted permission to speak with both of them about the vacant managerial position at Sunderland.
“The club will be making no further comment at this time.”
It is understood that coach Paul Bracewell is set to leave the club.
Former Sunderland midfielder Bracewell joined the first-team staff in 2015 and his subsequently served under Dick Advocaat, Sam Allardyce and David Moyes.