Sunderland are ready to install a player agent as their director of football.
The Daily Mail says Roberto De Fanti has been working at Sunderland's Cleadon training ground this week on a consultancy basis following owner Ellis Short's dismissal of chief scout Bryan 'Pop' Robson and his UK assistants, plus scouts in Holland and Spain.
And De Fanti, who represents Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong and Manchester City's Swedish striker John Guidetti, is helping with the recruitment of Robson's replacement as chief scout with the likelihood of then being installed in a sporting director-style role.
It's understood De Fanti is a Short, rather than a Paolo Di Canio, appointment, with the Sunderland chairman wanting an overhaul of the club's transfer strategy following £30million being spent poorly in the last two windows.
It's also said De Fanti played a part in recommending compatriot Di Canio to Short. A Sunderland spokeswoman said: "We are working through a number of changes leading to the appointment of a new chief scout."