Sunderland have identified Steve Bruce as the man to take their club towards Europe but Wigan will not let him go cheaply.
Sunderland, who are in the midst of a takeover from billionaire Ellis Short, have a Bruce admirer in Niall Quinn.
It is believed however, that no offical approach will be made until the takeover is complete.
Bruce for his part is reported as being disillusioned with having to sell his best players at Wigan, with Valencia and possibly Scharner following Palacios and Heskey out of the door.
The opportunity to have a massive transfer budget and to take a club into Europe should it arise, will undoubtably prove too big a temptation.
For Wigan the alarm bells will be ringing as virtually all the backroom staff followed Bruce to Wigan from Birmingham and would be expected to want to go to Sunderland with him.
With several current players in the midst of contract discussions and at least four players needed to strengthen the squad, following a poor second half of the season, Wigan will need to move quickly to stabilise the club, should Bruce move to Wearside.
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