Yesterday early favourites Roberto Di Matteo and Gus Poyet expressed reservations about the position, and now the former England manager is seen as a willing replacement to Paolo Di Canio.
McClaren has been without a managerial position since resigning from FC Twente in Holland in 2012 although he has worked on Harry Redknapp's coaching team at Queen's Park Rangers since June this year.
Despite public failures as manager of England and Wolfsburg, his successes with Middlesborough and in his first spell at Twente show that he is still regarded highly by Sunderland officials ... if not the Mackems themselves.
One divisive appointment is the role of Roberto De Fanti, Director of Football, with whom Gus Poyet is rumoured to be reluctant to work with.
Both Poyet and Di Matteo would prefer greater autonomy in recruiting new players.
Add to this 14 playing additions signed already by Di Canio and De Fanti and whoever becomes manager is going to inherit a disjointed squad that will quickly need bonding.
It is in these circumstances that McClaren fits the mould.
He is open to the idea of working with a Director of Football, and where Poyet and particularly Di Matteo are hesitant to take the job because of it's high-risk, McClaren is searching for that role within English football again.
It will be an underwhelming appointment for Sunderland fans, I'm sure.
Source: Newcastle United Mad