Rio is far from the finished article, but there is no doubt that he is intended for punditry stardom. Once you try and forget that awful 'merked' business, he's earned his shot...
With the new season just around the corner, how much do you remember about last season's Premier League. Oh, well then you're going to do badly...
The aesthetes' choice, appointing another man with no Premier League experience who left his last club after falling out with the board might look like the old definition of madness, and indeed makes it rather unlikely that Sunderland will make the same mistake - or what will be perceived as the same mistake - twice. For what it's worth, Poyet was apparently 'coy' about the prospect, saying "we'll see" when asked about taking the job.
Roberto Di Matteo
Often managerial appointments are reactions to the previous guy, so while those who are a little slow might instinctively think that, because they're both Italian, that rules out Di Matteo, it actually explains why he was the bookies' favourite. The surprise about Di Canio's departure wasn't that it came, but rather that it came so quickly, leaving Sunderland with a mess of an unhappy and unstructured squad. The rather more calm, nice guy Di Matteo might be just the man to soothe any issues that may exist, even if it does mean letting the players have their ketchup back. The argument against his appointment is that, as his time at West Brom showed, he might not be the man for a relegation scrap.
A man with a reputation as a good coach and indeed a good guy, but his last three jobs have ended in failure - Wolfsburg sacked him, he left Nottingham Forest disagreements with the board and a shambolic set of defensive displays, and his return to Twente finished with a jump before he was pushed. McClaren has recently been helping out at QPR, and given their excellent start to the season he might have a small amount of cache, but the sight of Schteve's increasingly-isolated peninsula of hair showing up to help out in a nascent relegation battle won't be the most comforting.
If the new man is a kick against the old man, Pulis might be a rather more literal answer. From a flightly foreigner with ker-a-zee ideas to a no-nonsense Brit who will tighten things up and make them horrendous to watch, but they probably won't get their arses handed to them by West Brom quite so often. And actually, Sunderland do have a squad that might fit with Pulis' style - a couple of big forwards, a few wingers, lots of centre-backs but not many full-backs, average possession percentage below 50%...it does seem to make a certain amount of sense.
Watford fans reacted in horror after their manager's name was linked with the post in the Tuesday papers, and the best for all concerned might be if he where he is. Zola looks to be building something pretty handy with his midfield-heavy Hornets, and as things stand it's not certain that he would be in a higher division next season with Sunderland. In addition, Zola's last season in the top flight wasn't particularly pretty, narrowly avoiding relegating West Ham with a points total that would've relegated them in most other seasons. While his personality could barely be more opposed to Di Canio's, he is perhaps not the man for a scrap.
No. One of my closest friends is a Sunderland fan. A favourite teacher at school was a Sunderland fan. I know some very nice Sunderland fans. For their sake, just...no.
Lennon's appointment would make a certain amount of sense. He was favourite to take the Everton job for a while in the summer, and one imagines that, on a professional level at least, he might want to leave Celtic. Winning the SPL (or whatever it's called these days) is not exactly an achievement with Rangers no longer there, more an avoidance of failure. As for what's beyond that, Lennon will struggle to top last season's achievements in the Champions League, particularly if they keep selling players like Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama. Still, the man himself isn't speaking like a man who wants out, or at least he wasn't during the Everton speculation in May: "I can't stop speculation about players or myself but at this current period I am Celtic manager and I don't see any reason for that to change in the future.
I'm not going to use the H-word, but needless to say this would go down very well with those who, shall we say, would perhaps copy Bielsa's signature glasses on a bit of string. Particularly if those glasses didn't have any lenses in them. Going for a man with such a standing in the game would certainly be an ambitious move, but given how 'uncompromising' Bielsa is, going from Di Canio to him wouldn't be the smartest move if Ellis Short is after an easy life. One of course does doubt whether he would come, too - he would demand complete control, time to implement his methods and, if his rejection of Santos this summer, apparently for financial reasons, is anything to go by, he'd ask for a lot of money too.
Odds: 66/1 (BetVictor).
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Now this would be interesting. Solskjaer might see taking a smaller job in England as a gateway to a rather bigger one, which we shall not name but you all know the one we mean. Solskjaer has called That Job his 'ultimate dream', but has also turned down a couple of similarly poisoned-looking gigs in this country, and doesn't sound especially keen to leave Molde just yet. "We've decided that, as a family, we'd still like to live in Norway," he said in February. "At that time it was too early to move back. I've moved back home and the kids and my family are enjoying themselves." Solskjaer did manage Molde to their first ever Tippeligaen titles in Norway, but this season they're lagging a touch, back in sixth place, 15 points behind leaders Rosenborg with six games to play.
Because it would feel weird not to include him.
All odds from SkyBet (as of 2pm on Tuesday) unless otherwise stated.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter