Sunderland considered Glenn Hoddle for the manager's job before going with Gus Poyet.
The Daily Star Sunday says the ex-England boss was not officially approached by the Black Cats but was sounded out by a third party.
That followed Hoddle, 55, being recommended to owner Ellis Short by a highly- respected football figure.
It seems, though, that both Sunderland and Hoddle himself were unsure about the ex-Tottenham hero taking over at the Stadium of Light being the right move.
Poyet, somewhat ironically, was a player under Hoddle at White Hart Lane.
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