The next few weeks could signal an almighty change at the Stadium of Light.
A new sporting director in Kristjaan Speakman is set to be hired, while Stewart Donald is busy finalising the details in a takeover bid from Juan Sartori and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus.
You will find it hard-pressed to find any football owner currently as busy as Donald, someone who is also searching for a new manager to bring to Sunderland.
However, one of the most eye-catching names is Lee Johnson, the ex-Bristol City manager. The 39-year-old is relatively inexperienced and is one of the youngest head coaches in the game. Yet, he is mightily impressive and has a distinct brand of football.
A welcome thought for Sunderland is the fact that he tinkers considerably with his formations, something we seldom saw under Parkinson.
His football was stale and tedious, playing a brand of the game that eventually saw the ball lumped towards the likes of Charlie Wyke. In short, his tactics were risk-free and full of predictability.
Thus, by bringing Johnson in they could completely change the way the current playing staff are working.
A dynamic thinker, Johnson has a track record of putting together a run of wins through changing his tactics and formations. For example, at the start of the 2015/16 season when he was at Barnsley, he played no fewer than five different systems.
This is completely different from Parkinson who so far this term, used a similar style in every game – either a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3.
If we take the 2016/17 as more evidence for Johnson’s tinkering, we can see that in a four-game unbeaten run between March 4th and March 7th, he used three very different systems; 3-5-2, 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2.
This should be a major box ticked for both Donald and the club’s supporters.
If he’s made the new Sunderland boss, they can wave goodbye to the stale football for good. That’s not just because of the constant change he instils, but also because he likes to play possession-based or counter-attacking football. That was something we never saw with Parkinson at the helm.
Johnson’s father Gary told The Independent that he is destined for lofty heights: “He’s done enough for at the moment for people to recognise what he can do, that’s the big thing. I think Lee should have (a big career) but you never rest on your laurels in football…he’s done himself no harm recently in what’s happening at Bristol City.”
With that in mind, it would be quite the coup if Sunderland could lure him to League One. This is a progressive coach who would surely be better placed in the north-east than Parkinson ever was.