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Takeover speculation: Shexit - a German resolution to enable a Short and sweet exit?

Fresh takeover speculation this afternoon at the Stadium of Light with national newspaper reports indicating a German-based consortium are interested in buying Sunderland from Ellis Short.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

According to The Sun, Sunderland owner Ellis Short is close to reaching an agreement to sell the club to a German-led consortium.

Whilst further details are currently non existent we are able to confirm that the ‘mystery German group’ probably aren't Boney M (you have to be a certain age to get that 'joke'). And the report suggests American financier Short is looking for around £100 million to conclude a sale.

After a turmoil-ridden 9 years at the club, perhaps Ellis Short will finally have his own exit concluded from Sunderland - quicker perhaps than the country managing to wriggle itself from the European Union - Shexit if you like.

Sunderland v Burnley - Premier League
Keeping the faith a buyer can be found - Ellis Short
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Initial reaction has been underwhelming to the newspaper report itself - largely because of the source - but on further reflection perhaps there are legs to this story - however Short they may be.

The Sun journalist who penned it - Alan Nixon - has a hit-and-miss history with Sunderland stories but in truth his - and his newspaper's - record hasn't been half bad in recent times.

The tabloid man has been the figure behind several recent scoops. Recent Sun successes include breaking the news of Ellis Short's 'Sunderland for sale' brochure; announcing the arrival of Simon Wilson from Manchester City as Chief Football Officer; breaking the news that Andy Welsh was leaving the Under-23 role, and heralding the appointment of new academy manager Jimmy Docherty.

Whilst 'Boro have announced their new manager today, Sunderland remain no closer to hiring anyone. So a natural hypothesis to consider is whether that's because the owner and his appointed chief executive - Martin Bain - have been distracted by takeover talks.

Purely speculation of course, but one thing is for sure, everything about Sunderland AFC continues to remain something of a mess. A potential takeover is a far-off glimpse of light at the end of what has become an increasingly bleak tunnel in the Ellis Short era.

The newspaper reports at least indicate that the search to replace David Moyes will be largely unaffected by the takeover development with Derek Mcinnes still the front-runner, though the odds on Kevin Phillips landing the job have shrunk markedly today.

And whilst the mechanics of hunting for a new boss may be continuing, Short's presence at the club may now even be hampering the likelihood of landing a candidate who will view the job as a viable proposition.

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League
The Stadium of Light pitch-side hotseat
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

With the owner having apparently lost all interest in the once-exciting project he bought into in 2009, coupled with a continued implementation of austerity measures, the manager job must be a difficult one to sell to prospective candidates.

As Sunderland restructures itself to life in the second-tier whilst keeping one eye on attracting bidders to its debt-ridden hulk - at least those with sufficient cash to tempt the owner to sell up and exit - ambitious managerial candidates determined to lead the club in a promotion charge appear to be wavering over committing themselves to formal talks over the job.

One thing is becoming increasingly certain, the risk of summer preparations being disrupted for the third season running continues to grow by the day and that prospect is being fuelled by a lack of decision-making and affirmative action by the hierarchy at the club.

Supporters will broadly welcome the news of a potential sale. Frustrations with the Short ownership have hampered the latter half of his near-nine year association with the club and can probably be pinpointed as brewing since Paolo Di Canio was hired in the spring of 2013.

The constant chopping and changing of directors, executives, players and managers continues to suggest that running a football club is not a forte in Ellis Short's business armoury - nor is recruitment.

Topically in today's post-election haze, rhetoric of ‘strong and steady’ leadership seems aptly applied to an Ellis Short reign more of the ‘weak and wobbly’ variety.

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