Sunderland boss David Moyes is expected to make a decision over his future at the end of the season amid claims he is ready to walk away from the club.
A report on Wednesday suggested the 54-year-old was ready to walk away from the Stadium of Light after holding talks with owner Ellis Short and chief executive Martin Bain following confirmation of the club’s relegation from the Premier League on Saturday.
However, Press Association Sport understands that Moyes is yet to decide which way to jump having sent out mixed messages both before and after the Black Cats’ fate was sealed by a 1-0 home defeat to Bournemouth.
The manager insisted he had the appetite to spearhead a rebuilding programme should the worst happen, but also said he would take stock at the end of the campaign in the run-up to the game.
Speaking after Josh King’s late strike had condemned the club to life back in the Sky Bet Championship after a 10-year stay in the top flight, Moyes said he would take time to assess the situation over the next week or so, but declined to comment on his own situation.
Short, who revealed last summer that Moyes had been his “number one managerial target for the last five appointments”, released a statement on Saturday evening admitting that mistakes had been made during his tenure, and it is true that the Scot inherited a difficult situation.
He was handed the reins in July following Sam Allardyce’s departure for England and had just a matter of weeks in which to re-shape his squad in the wake of yet another ultimately successful relegation fight.
Moyes was unaware of the full extent club’s parlous financial situation – Sunderland last week reported a loss of £33million after tax for the year to July 21, 2016 and a reduced net debt of £110.4million – and, although the club spent total of £27.1million on Didier Ndong, Papy Djilobodji, Paddy McNair and Donald Love, his recruitment since has been done on a shoestring.
In addition, he has been desperately unfortunate on the injury front with Lee Cattermole, McNair and Duncan Watmore having missed much of the campaign and a series of other men have also sat out for significant periods.
However, the former Everton, Manchester United and Real Sociedad boss has been unable to make any significant impact on the fortunes of a team which have relied too heavily on young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at one end and veteran striker Jermain Defoe at the other.
Moyes and Bain were employed by Short to implement a long-term plan and there has been no appetite to rip that up and start all over again in recent months with the manager having been told he was safe whatever happened.
The three men held a scheduled meeting in London on Sunday and will reconvene during the coming weeks to thrash out the way forward.
But, as relegation became inevitable, large sections of the support started to turn and, whether the Glaswegian wants to – or will be allowed to – continue to oversee that project, with revenue streams set to plummet, remains to be seen.