The Athletic journalist Chris Waugh feels Sunderland may never be able to catch Newcastle after the Magpies' recent takeover.
The St James' Park club have new owners after being taken over by a Saudi-led consortium earlier this month, and Waugh is concerned about the effect this could have on their local rivals.
What's happening at Sunderland?
Having been relegated a couple of times in the early years of the 21st century, the Black Cats established themselves as a Premier League outfit for 10 seasons between 2007 and 2017.
However, they then dropped down to the Championship four years ago, and very little has gone right for the club since.
In their first campaign back in the Championship, they endured a miserable season, and were relegated once more. In the past three years, they have been trying to work their way back towards the top of the English pyramid, but have suffered play-off heartbreak on multiple occasions.
Lee Johnson's side have started this season well, and look like they will be in the mix for promotion, but they still have some way to go to bridge the gap to Newcastle.
What has Waugh said about Sunderland?
Having previously been a stable Premier League club, Sunderland have had a major fall from grace in recent years. Waugh feels they will struggle to ever get back on terms with Newcastle, who look set to have an exciting journey ahead of them under their new ownership.
Speaking about Sunderland, Waugh told GIVEMESPORT: “If you lose the base that you had previously, and Newcastle manage to progress as everyone hopes that they will, involved in the project, then I think that Sunderland risk falling behind to a level that they’ll never be able to catch up again.”
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Can Sunderland catch Newcastle ever again?
Newcastle now have the wealthiest owners in the Premier League, and this influx of money is likely to see them pull even further clear of Sunderland over the next few years. That is a worrying scenario for Sunderland fans.
Still, there may be some hope for Sunderland to close the gap in the short-term at least. Despite their substantial funds, Newcastle look set to be in a relegation battle this year, while Sunderland could finally gain promotion if they continue their early-season form.
Therefore, if all things go perfectly for Sunderland, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that both clubs could be playing in the Championship next season.
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