PASCAL Jansen is of interest to Sunderland and Black Cats bosses have been in contact with the former AZ Alkmaar boss over the head coach vacancy at the Stadium of Light.

It's not known at this stage how talks have progressed and how likely the 51-year-old is to become Sunderland's next boss, but he's been on the club's radar since the process of finding a replacement for Michael Beale started back in February.

Jansen was in charge of AZ for four years before his dismissal early this year. Prior to joining Alkmaar, Jansen - who was born in London and moved to Holland as a child - had two years in charge of PSV's youth team.

He's built a reputation in the Netherlands for playing attacking and attractive football and developing young talent.

In an interview with Sky last year, Jansen said: "We understand that the Eredivisie is a league where young players show their skills and then move on. The players we bring in arrive before they are on the radar and before they have reached their full potential. It is challenging but it is exciting."

He led AZ to the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League in the 2022/23 season, before their run was brought to an end by West Ham, eventual winners of the competition.

Jansen's fine work with AZ led to interest from Rangers as they looked for a replacement for Michael Beale at the end of last year. Jansen is also said to have been on Norwich City's radar this summer before the arrival of Johannes Hoff Thorup.

In an interview late last year, he said: "That Rangers talk caught me by surprise. It flatters me, of course, because Rangers are a massive club and I have dreams and ambitions. But it does not make me do my job differently. I just keep working hard to make my players better than yesterday."


We Are Sunderland understands Jansen was identified early as a candidate for the Sunderland vacancy and he's remained in the running while the shortlist of contenders has been whittled down.

Jansen's odds have tumbled in the last 24 hours and, as things stand, he's second favourite with the bookmakers. Will Still leads the way despite developments at the end of last week, when the 31-year-old performed a u-turn having previously indicated to Sunderland bosses he was set to take the job.

That followed the emergence of interest from Lens but Still has not yet been confirmed as the new boss of the Ligue 1 side, whose president Joseph Oughourlian said earlier this week that he was still in the process of finding "the right person".

Lens are in the market for a new boss after the exit of Franck Haise, who replaced former Sunderland target and now Ajax boss Francesco Farioli at Nice.

Oughourlian said “We would all have wanted Franck Haise to stay. I understood, perhaps a little late, that he was going to leave.

“We have a number of candidates. This club remains attractive. Today, we don't have the right person yet. We work hard, without rushing. The hasty decisions, particularly those taken on the sporting side over the past 18 months, have paid very dearly.”

The future of Rene Maric, another Sunderland candidate, has not yet been confirmed but the 31-year-old looks increasingly likely to be part of Vincent Kompany's first team coaching set-up at Bayern.

Maric completed his coaching badges with Kompany and is said to have played a role in Bayern's surprise move for the Belgian this summer.