x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Mancini throws his hat in Sunderland ring

The identity of Sunderland's next manager is no clearer after the Italian claimed he has been offered the chance to manage the team.

The identity of Sunderland's next manager is no clearer after Roberto Mancini yesterday claimed he has been offered the chance to manage the team. The 44-year-old former Italy forward was sacked by Inter Milan 12 months ago, despite leading the club to three successive Serie A titles, and his claims appear to contradict Wigan chairman Dave Whelan's statement that his manager Steve Bruce was close to making a decision on whether to take the role.

Mancini, who has been out of football since leaving the San Siro club, told Sky Italia: "I am honoured to have had an offer from Sunderland Football Club. It is a fantastic opportunity. "It will be truly wonderful to lead such a prestigious and historic club in England after a year of sitting on the sidelines. "I feel I am ready to start again with immense enthusiasm." However, Bruce is still the firm favourite for the Stadium of Light post after Ricky Sbragia's resignation seven days ago.

Wigan have confirmed they will not stand in the way of Bruce, their manager, providing Sunderland pay £3million (Dh17m) in compensation. Whelan has already given Bruce permission to talk to Sunderland. He told BBC Radio: "I paid Birmingham a compensation fee and I think it is only fair they buy his contract out. I paid Birmingham £3million and I am asking for the same amount back." Meanwhile, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has revealed he wants to sell the club "as soon as I can" and regrets buying the club in 2007. He told The Sunday Times: "It has been catastrophic for everybody. I've lost my money and I've made terrible decisions. I tried my best. But I accept my best was woefully short. I am sorry for everybody about what has happened."

* With agencies