Aberdeen's new major shareholder Dave Cormack has said that the Pittodrie outfit will fight to keep Derek McInnes, and told Sunderland they must meet certain conditions before they can speak to the 45-year-old.
McInnes is thought to be interested in the Black Cats job but is awaiting further assurances about the size of the budget he will have available.
Sunderland and Aberdeen are currently locked in negotiations to agree a compensation package for McInnes and his long-term assistant Tony Docherty. Aberdeen have privately been braced for their departure and a number of names have already been linked with the Scottish Premier League side should they leave.
Dave Cormack admitted succession plans are in place but insisted that it did not make his departure inevitable.
He told local radio station Original FM: "Derek is 100% focused on the team for next year. He's on vacation just now, but he's not really getting one because he's working with the team on player recruitment.
"Derek is under contract at Aberdeen for two years. He and his family are happy here, no team, including Sunderland, has been given permission to talk to Derek. To talk to him there are certain conditions that have to be met, financially or otherwise. Then two, Derek needs to want to talk to them, but that’s the order. We don’t need their money at all. We had a board meeting yesterday and the money is there [to invest in the team].
"I don’t know [if McInnes wants job], I joined the board yesterday and I will leave the Chairman to deal with that.
Cormack has recently become the majority shareholder and said speculation over the manager was inevitable after a League Cup win and three consecutive second placed finishes.
Cormack said: "His team have done an incredible job over the last four years and he is a very astute individual.
"He's not just a football manager. The conversation I've had with Derek, he's interested in the whole club, from marketing to communications, and obviously we want to keep our best people: players and management team.
"But at the end of the day, with the success we've had, our players and people like Derek are going to be attracted, or people are going to approach the club because of the success we've had."