Sunderland will turn to Patrick Vieira to take charge of Davie Moyes leaves the Stadium of Light.
According to a report in The Sun the former Arsenal and Juventus midfielder is the man that the club will turn to if Moyes quits for any reason.
The increasingly negative comments from the Scot has caused concern in the Sunderland boardroom who are alarmed at the message being sent through the dressing room.
Losing at West Brom on Saturday left the Black Cats at the bottom of the table with the three clubs above all having changed manager around Christmas.
Vieira is currently coaching New York City in the MLS but has never hidden his ambitions to coach in the Premier League.
With Pep Guardiola viewed as the long term manager of Manchester City there is no pathway to the Etihad for Vieira who is a City ambassador.
Sunderland may not appeal as the ideal job but with managerial offers in the Premier League increasingly rare the Sunderland board would be keen to sound out whether the Frenchman would be interested in their job if Moyes was to leave.