In what would be the third club at which the pair have worked together, Martin O’Neill is being associated with a move for his former captain, Stiliyan Petrov.
The duo have enjoyed a relationship lasting as long as ten years, split between their tenures at Celtic and Aston Villa.
The Bulgarian anchorman was already on the books at Celtic Park when O’Neill took over the managerial position at the club where they went on to enjoy five successful years working together winning numerous accolades including three league titles and three Scottish Cups, as well as making their way to a UEFA Cup final, losing to Porto in the final.
Despite the Northern Irishman’s departure from the SPL side in 2005, it took O’Neill barely six months until he was reunited with Petrov, who he signed in August of the following year for a fee of £6.5m.
Petrov then became an integral cog of O’Neill’s Aston Villa machine, making over 150 appearances for the club under his manager and was a key component for the club in all three of their standout seasons of the Premier League in which they placed 6th on three occasions.
Despite the fact that the former Bulgarian Player of the Year is turning 33 in July, Martin O’Neill is keen to link back up with his long-term partner one more time as he seeks to turn the luck of the Black Cats just as he did at Villa Park.
The North East outfit have experienced a resurgence in form under O’Neill after the 59 year-old took over the reins at the Stadium of Light in early December, and he will be hoping that his former captain can bring some experience and stability to a young Sunderland side.
Petrov is available for a fraction of the price O’Neill signed him for in the past, and is expected to be available for the very affordable fee of £3m.