Is Steward Donald's influence over Sunderland AFC finally set to dwindle even further?
Quite possibly. Supporters were given great hope that a takeover could finally occur on Friday afternoon when it was revealed that a new consortium were lodging an attempt to buy a stake in the club.
Donald has been trying to sell for a considerable period of time and it now looks as though that may well become a reality.
A report from The Guardian reported that Donald has agreed a deal with a consortium led by Juan Sartori, someone who already owns a 20% stake at Sunderland and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus – the 22-year-old son of former Marseille owner Robert.
Donald is set to retain at least 15% of his shares but it is understood that after several months of due diligence and negotiations, an offer was finally put on the table two weeks ago.
The current Sunderland owner then accepted that bid earlier this week and now efforts are being made to wrap everything up.
Guardian sources expected everything to go through within the next two weeks.
Fans of the club will certainly be hoping that their takeover doesn't become as farcical as Newcastle's did this summer when a deal fell through because of continued stalls in the progression of the owners' and directors' test.
What the Sunderland faithful will be keen to know, however, is where Sartori and Dreyfus will look to spend their money first.
Well, thankfully Sunderland Echo journalist Phil Smith has the answers. He said on Friday:
"While spending on first-team wages is limited, investment in areas such as the academy and recruitment are not.
"Discontent with the current regime goes well beyond two failed attempts at promotion.
"A lack of long-term strategy across the club, as well as the loss of talented academy players, has been a major source of anger for supporters.
"It is in these areas where attention is mostly needed, and where any new ownership structure would be first assessed."
GIVEMESPORT'S Matt Dawson says...
Although the new regime's most important focus will be on getting Sunderland promoted, an area where supporters will judge them the most, it's crucial that a long-term strategy is put in place.
Under Donald that has been lacking and he failed to buck the trend of young players departing the club.
It all began with Josh Maja. The forward started the 2018/19 in lightning form by scoring 15 League One goals in 24 outings.
However, as his contract situation ran down he eventually joined Bordeaux in France.
Maja is just one of a number of academy products to leave Sunderland behind in favour of bigger clubs. Luca Stephenson, Sam Greenwood, Luke Hewitson and Morten Spencer have all left in recent years, while both Joe Hugill and Logan Pye signed for Manchester United in the summer.
If Sartori and Dreyfus invest sufficiently in the academy and build a better plan, hopefully, these types of players will see Sunderland as a good place to play their football.
At the moment, that is far from the case.News Now - Sport News