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Roundup: Takeover talk steps up a level; Pickford on leaving & Djilobodji discounted by Galatasaray

In this morning's round-up: after yesterday's initial suggestion a German-led consortium are in talks to buy Sunderland, the Times have furnished some additional details to the story; and a selection of other news snippets which have caught our eye.

Takeover talk furnished with detail

According to a report in the Times, Sunderland have acquired the services of a footall consultant and ARE in talks with a German consortium.

The report says the business guru commissioned by Ellis Short to lead the sale of the club, Dr Keith Harris, has advised on the purchase, sale and investment of several clubs including Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
The Stadium of Light
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The suggestion that a Germanic-led group are in advanced talks with Sunderland owner Short to buy the club surfaced in the Sun yesterday but were widely glanced over and discounted due to the lack of any detail.

Local press titles have been quick to dismiss the rumours, most likely on the word of Sunderland's PR department.

But this morning's update from Murdoch sister title the Times adds a layer of detail that previous takeover talk has not contained. The report concludes that the process of due diligence has not begun but that there is "optimism that a deal could be completed in the next few weeks".


Jordan Pickford stops just short of declaring he will exit Sunderland this summer

Dependent on which headline you happen to take note of, Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has either quelled transfer talk or declared himself set on departing the Stadium of Light this summer.

England U21 Training Session and Press Conference
Pickford in training at St George's Park this week as the England U21's prepare for Euro 2017 which starts next week
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Speaking ahead of the UEFA European Under-21 Championships which begin next Friday, Pickford hinted that he sees himself remaining a top-tier player come August:

I feel like I am proven in the Premier League but I have spoken to my agent and told him that I just want to concentrate on the Euros and be the best I can be.

I'll see where it takes me. Ideally it would have been better if we had stayed up.

The young goalkeeper has previously declared that he intends remaining in the Premier League next season and with the dire financial position at Sunderland, the club cashing in on their prized asset is inevitable.

As teams gather for the European showcase of young talent, agents have been banned from staying with their clients at the England team hotel in the Polish city of Kielce but the FA hierarchy acknowledge there will be speculation and transfer discussions surrounding the tournament.

England U21 Training Session and Press Conference
Jordan Pickford
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

England kick off the group stages with a first match against their Swedish counterparts next Friday at 17.00.

The game should have pitted Pickford against his current Sunderland teammate Joel Asoro but the 18 year old forward is banned after being sent off in his last international outing.

In his own preview of the tournament, Asoro has hinted to the media in Sweden that he may depart the Stadium of Light if he feels he can't break into the Sunderland first team on a regular basis next season.


Ndong made Gabon captain

Didier Ndong will be in the Gabon side which plays Mali on home soil tonight. The game is notable because the 22-year-old Sunderland midfielder has been made captain of his national side for the first time.

Sunderland v Liverpool - Premier League
Didier Ndong at the Stadium of Light last season
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Preparations for the match have been thrown into chaos this week after a number of Gabonese senior stars left the team hotel in a row over payments and bonuses awarded for international appearances.

Some of the troubled nation's biggest star names are still refusing to play tonight, with the delegation led by Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The game is a qualifying fixture for the 2019 African Cup of Nations.


Galatasary opt out of move for Papy Djilobodji

According to a report in the Turkish media, having considered a move for Sunderland's Papy Djilobodji, Galatasaray have opted not to pursue their interest in the Senegelese defender.

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League
Djilobodji playing for Sunderland last season
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

The report suggests Djilobodji was part of a five-man shortlist of defensive targets for Galatasaray coach Igor Tudor. The list included Violet Chiriches of Naples, Sao Paulo's Maicon Pereira Roque, Sassuolo's Francesco Acerbi and Cristian Eduardo Zapata of AC Milan.

Having browsed his options, Tudor will concentrate his efforts in persuading Chiriches and Maicon to join the Istanbul outfit and has discounted Djilobodji as a target. For now.

Djilobodji endured a difficult first season in the Premier League after landing at Sunderland for £8m last summer. Playing just 18 times, the 28-year-old fell out of favour after receiving a four-game ban in January following a charge of violent conduct.

The former Nantes defender has already declared he may leave the Stadium of Light this summer and stated that believes he can play at a level above the Championship.