Wigan chairman David Whelan has revealed he wants £3m compensation from Sunderland for manager Steve Bruce.
Whelan has given Bruce permission to talk to Black Cats chairman Niall Quinn and he expects a decision to be made by the end of Sunday.
Bruce re-joined Wigan in November 2007 after Whelan agreed a compensation package with Birmingham.
He told Sportsweek on Radio Five Live: "I paid Birmingham a compensation fee and I think it is only fair they buy his contract out. I paid Birmingham £3m and I am asking for the same amount back.
"There are a lot of managers on the market at moment you can get for nothing. It depends whether Sunderland feel they want to pay £3m. If they want real, real quality managers Steve is up there.
"I said to Steve and to Niall that if you are going to do a deal, do it quickly. Niall spoke to me and said 'I understand we can't mess about on this and by Sunday evening we will have a decision for you'.''
Whelan added that he will not draw up a shortlist of potential replacements until he has heard for certain that Bruce is leaving the JJP Stadium.
"I don't want to lose Steve,'' said Whelan. "I really haven't got one (a replacement) in mind at present. It is not something I do - I wait to see what the outcome is and face reality.
"I would advertise and we will have 20 application in with some good lads among them. There quite a lot of people on the market at present and there are some good lads out there who don't have jobs.''
Although Sunderland's interest in Bruce is genuine there are other candidates and it is by no means certain that he will be Ricky Sbragia's successor.