Merson: Rangers doesn't count, Sunderland should have offered Sam Allardyce the job instead

Paul Merson

Paul Merson says Sunderland should have made a big push to bring Sam Allardyce in from West Ham.

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has criticised Sunderland's decision to bring in Dick Advocaat as manager.

Now a pundit, Merson told SkySports that he feels Advocaat is in his opinion an unproven commodity in English football and too much of a gamble.

Instead he says the Black Cats should have made a serious proposal to attempt to lure Sam Allardyce away from his current job at West Ham United.

He said: "I know people have said that Advocaat has managed in Scotland before, but that is not the Premier League at all and I am really shocked by the news. I would have liked to see Kevin Ball get the job until the end of the season had they not gone first to get Sam Allardyce from West Ham, who is the manager they should have tried for.

"I do not know why they did not offer Big Sam a three or four-year deal and seen what he said, as Allardyce would have definitely kept them up. And even if he did not, he would have brought them straight back up the next season, so it would have been worth the investment either way."

Was Merson's suggestion possible?

Managing to tempt a club boss from one Premier League side to another at any stage of the season is tricky, but Crystal Palace showed it can be done by bringing in Alan Pardew from Newcastle United. 

There is growing disquiet among fans at the Hammers however as a positive start to the season fades. The club have won only one Premier League game in 2015, and Allardyce's position has become a talking point as a result.

Merson is perhaps unfairly dismissive of Dick Advocaat at Rangers. The Dutchman may not have had an opportunity in England before, but he has a managerial career spanning nearly 30 years, including international sides South Korea, Serbia and Holland, and clubs including PSV and Zenit St Petersburg.

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