Gus Poyet is named Sunderland new head coach and has been assured of funds in January to boost survival hopes
Poyet has agreed a three-year contract to succeed Paolo Di Canio and ends Sunderland’s two-week search for an appointment, with the Uruguayan charged with the task of helping the North East club avoid relegation to the Championship .
Sunderland owner Ellis Short has admitted top-flight safety is an “absolute necessity” and has promised Poyet assistance to make signings in the new year, though the budget will be more limited than the estimated £30 million spent by Di Canio this summer.
Short has made it clear to the 45-year-old that survival is the only remit for the season, with Sunderland bottom and without a league win since April 20. No club have ever avoided relegation with only one point from their opening seven games, Sunderland’s present position.
It is Poyet’s first managerial assignment in the top flight, after establishing his reputation with Brighton, but he is keen to introduce a more progressive style of passing football and will work closely alongside director of football Roberto De Fanti.
Sunderland made their move on Sunday, hours after the 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United, and held further talks with Poyet before finally putting the finishing touches to the deal on Monday night.
Poyet was one of the first contenders to hold talks with the Sunderland board after the dismissal of Di Canio and was under serious consideration for the post in March before losing out to the Italian as the club were reluctant to pay the £2.5 million compensation required by Brighton.
Poyet was controversially dismissed by Brighton in July after an acrimonious row following the club’s play-off semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace and shortly after his exit was confirmed he told The Telegraph: “I am free and available and I want to be back in work as soon as possible.
“I’ve worked with Juande Ramos and Dennis Wise, worked for almost four years with Brighton, and feel I’m ready to manage in the Premier League.
“I’m going to go away and make sure I am ready for the challenge when it comes along. There are matters to be sorted out, for sure, but I’m very keen to get back into management when the right opportunity comes along.”
Poyet’s assistant from Brighton, Mauricio Taricco, will also be joining him on Wearside while Kevin Ball, who has been in caretaker charge for the last three games, is set to return to his former job with the academy.
Poyet travelled up to Sunderland on Monday night and his first game in charge will be the trip to Swansea on Oct 19.
His appointment will undoubtedly be seen as another gamble due to his lack of experience in the top tier.
Di Canio lasted only 13 league games before his dismissal a fortnight ago and Short had used his programme notes for the visit of United to spell out the short-term ambition for this season.
“Here at the club, like every supporter, we would like to see long-term success on the pitch and stability at the club,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately sometimes the quest for stability can be interrupted by the absolute necessity of staying in the league. This is because the long-term aim becomes irrelevant if we aren’t at the top level.”
Poyet was the sixth longest serving manager in English football at the time of his sacking with Brighton, winning 86 of his 194 matches.
He had guided Brighton to the League One title in his second season before finishing 10th and fourth in the Championship.
In 2007 he was recruited to Ramos’s back-room staff at White Hart Lane but he lasted barely a year before he landed his first managerial post at Brighton in 2009.