Even after being told by his wife a divorce was on the cards if he took the job, Dick Advocaat couldn't resist the lure of Sunderland. On Thursday (4 June), the 67-year-old made a dramatic U-turn over his future and decided to leave retirement for another year to pen a 12-month deal with the Black Cats.
While there is genuine sentiment between Advocaat and the club after another great escape last season, reports would suggest the veteran manager was also promised a sizeable budget to spend by director of football Lee Congerton. Given the endless cycle the club have found themselves in in recent seasons that has resulted in them scrapping for their lives, they cannot afford to get it wrong again.
Business so far
The small matter of finding a new manager has taken precedence over any player recruitment so far. Advocaat has signed a one year deal at the Stadium of Light as the only incoming piece of business so far, while seven youth players in Ryan Ellison, Ross Colquhoun, Jassem Sukar, Tom McNamee, Peter Burke, Joel Dixon and Andrew Cartwright have been released.
What they need
An ageing backline urgently needs some new blood. Replacements for one if not both of 34-year-old John O'Shea and 35-year-old Wes Brown remain a priority. An issue that has dogged Sunderland for seasons is also a distinct lack of pace running through the side. While the January addition of Jermain Defoe will help their efforts in front of goal, there is a fairly urgent need for some craft and guile to supply them.
Who could join
Celtic centre-half Virgil van Dijk and Feyenoord's Jordy Clasie have swiftly been linked with moves to the north east to address that ageing defence and lack of invention in the middle of the park. Both could be savvy purchases, the only problem is that another Dutchman in the Premier League also reportedly has his eye on the duo. Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has already identified Clasie as a possible replacement for Morgan Schneiderlin.
Leeds United full-back Sam Byram has also been linked but Sunderland may have to put up more than the reported £5m ($7.7m) fee to prise him from Elland Road. And with seemingly no future at Liverpool, Sebastian Coates has been tipped to head back to the north east on a permanent basis.
Who could leave
Four players are entering the final year of their contacts at the club with addressing Lee Cattermole's future likely to be the priority. Mark Hughes and Stoke City are once again linked with the battle hardened midfielder but a contract extension will put those rumours to bed for another year. Steven Fletcher has struggled with injury throughout his three years on Wearside and with just 19 goals in 78 appearances since his £12m move, any acceptable offer should tempt Sunderland into selling.
Adam Johnson's future meanwhile is difficult to determine given his current off-field legal issues.
What the manager has said
"After a lot of discussions with Ellis [Short, club owner] and Lee [Congerton], they convinced me that I am the right man for the club. They kept on asking me to stay.
"It was a great feeling to be part of Sunderland in the last few months, the experience was something very special and after talking with Lee, Ellis and of course my family, we all agree it is the right decision."