Former Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat if may be better for the club to be relegated like arch-rivals Newcastle United in order to rebuild.
David Moyes' Sunderland are set for another relegation battle this season, adrift at the bottom of the Premier League table on goal difference, after ex-boss Sam Allardyce helped avoid relegation last term.
It is an all too familiar story for Sunderland, who had Advocaat to thank in 2015 after the Dutchman preserved their top-flight status having arrived in March.
And Advocaat - now in charge of Turkish giants Fenerbahce - said Sunderland could learn from Newcastle, who sit atop the Championship following their drop to the second tier in 2015-16.
"You can only define Sunderland's problems if they spend the same as other clubs do and they don't do that," said Advocaat.
"I said three years ago that this is the reason I left after eight games. I had no chance, I had that feeling.
"OK, Allardyce did a great job but it went down to the wire, the last games of the season.
"You can't do that every season. Maybe it's better to go down, to build a new team like Newcastle and they have a great club, a great fan base, a great stadium.
"You cannot go on this way because other clubs, they invest, they spend and if you don't do it, there's too much quality there elsewhere."