short not close to sale of cats

Sunderland owner Ellis Short
Sunderland owner Ellis Short

Ellis Short is NOT close to selling Sunderland as the summer of uncertainty continues at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats continue their search for a manager to replace David Moyes and this remains the priority of the club’s hierarchy.

Reports yesterday claimed that Short was close to completing a deal to sell the club to a ‘mystery German consortium’, suggesting talks were at an advanced stage.

However, it is understood that isn’t the case, and that while Short is still looking at finding someone to take Sunderland off his hands, there is no deal imminent.

Short has been actively looking to sell for more than a year now, and employed the service of a US-based investment bank to try to find a buyer.

A prospectus was produced for interested parties, amid tentative interest from a Chinese consortium which ultimately came to nothing.

But the Missouri-born businessman is still keen on offloading the debt-ridden club, though he may be forced to accept a reduced price after relegation from the Premier League.

Sunderland are £110million in debt and the perilous state of the finances is not only something that must be factored into any sale, but will also play a role in the appointment of a new manager.

Club legend Kevin Phillips was a shock mover in the betting market yesterday.

He is understood to have been sounded out about a potential return to the Stadium of Light, where he notched a record 130 goals in 250 appearances.

Chief executive Martin Bain is leading the search for a new boss, and has held talks with a number of interested candidates.

One of the key parts of the negotiations will be what transfer budget is made available to the new boss, with Bain understood to have been told to keep a tight rein on spending despite the squad needing a complete rebuild to tackle the Championship.

While the wage bill will automatically be reduced thanks to clauses in the contracts, it is still at a hefty level, while the drop in TV revenue will hit Sunderland hard.

Moyes is believed to have been told he would receive virtually none of the parachute payments or money raised from player sales, and as a result felt the limitations were too great, which was one of the reasons behind his resignation.

Reports claim long-time bookies favourite Derek McInnes has expressed reservations over how much money he would be given to spend.

The Aberdeen chief remains a front-runner for the post, but Garry Monk won’t be taking the job after he opted to become Middlesbrough’s new manager yesterday.

Monk had held talks with Bain and was open to hearing what the club’s plans were, but was instead named as boss down the A19.