Bayern Munich have cast a huge shadow over Sunderland's hopes of landing Louis van Gaal after admitting they want the former Barcelona boss to take over at the Allianz Arena.
After further reinforcing his reputation by steering AZ Alkmaar to the Dutch League title, Van Gaal has shot to the top of Sunderland's wanted list, ahead of two former England managers, Steve McClaren and Sven Goran Eriksson.
But their chances of pulling off the boldest of moves has been hit by Bayern's decision to make the highly-regarded Dutch coach their top target to succeed the sacked Jurgen Klinsmann.
'We have a list of names who are under review, but Van Gaal is rightup there at the top,' confirmed Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer.
Bayernfailed in an ambitious bid to prise Arsene Wenger away from Arsenal,after losing patience with Klinsmann, as exclusively revealed in Sportsmail last month.
They hope to have better luck with van Gaal after drawing up alucrative package of personal terms and transfer funds that is likelyto give them an edge over Sunderland, who are looking to appoint anexperienced new manager to allow current boss Ricky Sbragia to returnto his preferred role as first-team coach.