Takeover could be completed by Friday
Sky Sports are reporting that a takeover deal for Sunderland could be completed in principle by the end of the week.
Two groups are battling to wrestle control from owner Ellis Short - one from Germany and one a consortium headed by a group of Sunderland fans backed by investors from America.
The report claims Short will agree a deal at £90m with additional payments should Sunderland win promotion to the Premier League within a defined timescale. Both bids are said to be at an advanced stage.
There have been suggestions that the group fronted by executives from production company Fulwell73 value Sunderland at £50m but may need a little additional time to ensure they have the extra finance to meet Short's valuation. However as at this afternoon, their approach to the American billionaire still appears to be very much alive and very much in the running.
Whilst Short has been said to be desperate to get out of Sunderland for some time, the present situation with two competing bidders who seemingly have secured the backing to meet his asking price could be something of a win-win for the billionaire financier.
The due diligence process is likely to be a complex time-consuming one with the checks typically taking a number of weeks.
But with an end-of-the-month deadline imposed on negotiations, the undertaking will likely be expedited due to the state of chaos at the manager-less Black Cats who desperately need to begin a huge squad restructure ahead of the new season - the fixtures for which are out tomorrow.
Pearson & Stockdale as number one and two
According to The Sun, Sunderland owner Ellis Short has instructed chief executive Martin Bain to proceed with a refreshed short-list for the vacant manager's position at the club regardless of takeover speculation.
The report suggests Nigel Pearson is currently the head of the list and will be asked to enter into informal talks with the Black Cats this week.
The article further claims that coaching staff at the Stadium of Light would support the appointment of the former Leicester boss and that he would be willing to work with first team coach Robbie Stockdale who is considered a popular figure at the club.
Stockdale is one of only three senior backroom football staff left at Sunderland since Paul Bracewell was let go last week. The others are goalkeeping coach Adrian Tucker and academy manager Elliot Dickman.
Pearson would come with three outstanding attributes for the job at Sunderland. First, he's out of work and immediately available - and for a club who are without a manager just over a week before the players assemble to begin pre-season, that would be a bonus.
Second, no compensation would have to be paid to land him and despite Sunderland being willing to pay Aberdeen £1m for Derek McInnes, the Ellis Short era has been characterised by appointments of out of work 'free' managers.
Pearson would also come without his own backroom staff to be appointed, assembled and paid-for with most of his former associates still working at Leicester.
And third, for a club who have had the whiff of a toxic dressing room for several years, Pearson's fearsome reputation may be seen as a boon for the coaching staff at the Stadium of Light to begin to address issues behind the scenes.
All of this may yet come to naught of course with two prospective bidders still in talks with Short over purchasing the club. In the event one is successful in buying Sunderland, they would likely have their own ideas on who to bring in.
Simon Grayson, Nigel Clough, Paul Heckingbottom, Chris Wilder and Paul Lambert seem to be the other names who may make up the 'new' shortlist currently in progress on Martin Bain's desk
Morpeth v Sunderland
Northern League Division One side Morpeth Town will host a Sunderland XI next month at Craik Park.
The game will be played on Friday 14th July, kick off 7pm. The club announcement anticipates the Black Cats will put out a young side to test itself against the Highwaymen.
Lens on his way?
Turkish TV channel NTV Sport claim Fenerhahce have reached an agreement to buy Sunderland's want-away misfit Jeremain Lens.
No figures relating to transfer fee are quoted but the report suggests the player's wage demands are still to be negotiated.