Sunderland dismiss Mancini, line-up Bruce

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The Independent Football

Sunderland are not lining up former Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini as their new manager, according to the Italian's agent.

The Wearsiders are looking for a replacement for Ricky Sbragia, who resigned after helping preserve the club's Barclays Premier League status.

Wigan boss Steve Bruce has emerged as the firm favourite for the post but Mancini was quoted yesterday as saying he had been offered the chance to take over at the Stadium of Light, and hinted he would relish the opportunity to return to football after a 12-month absence.

But his agent, Giorgio De Giorgis, told PA Sport Sunderland had not been in touch.

He said: "Mancini is aware of those reports.

"But we have not received an offer, nor have we been in touch with anyone from Sunderland."

Mancini has been out of work since leaving Inter last summer, shortly after leading them to a third successive Serie A title.

De Giorgis confirmed there was interest in his client from England but no formal offer had yet been put to the 44-year-old.

"There has been interest from English teams but Sunderland is not one of them," he added.

"However, no official offers have been made."

Mancini was earlier quoted as telling Sky Italia: "I am honoured to have had an offer from Sunderland Football Club. It is a fantastic opportunity.

"It will be truly wonderful to lead such a prestigious and historic club in England after a year of sitting on the sidelines.

"I feel I am ready to start again with immense enthusiasm."

It is Bruce, though, who is the front-runner to succeed Sbragia, who only took over from Roy Keane in December.

Wigan have confirmed they will not stand in the way of Bruce providing Sunderland pay £3million in compensation.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has already given Bruce permission to talk to Sunderland.

Compensation would not be a factor if Sunderland were to appoint Mancini.

The Italian, though, has only limited experience of English football, having had a brief playing stint with Leicester in 2001 before going into full-time coaching.

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