Stewart Donald reveals that South American players are on their way to Sunderland after 'big input' from Juan Sartori

Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald has confirmed that the club are ready to exploit a 'gap in the market' and bring some South American players in to their academy set-up.

Monday, 10th September 2018, 9:06 am
Updated Monday, 10th September 2018, 7:22 pm
Stewart Donald has revealed that South American players could be on their way

The Black Cats were keen to explore the market, which was opened up by the appointment of Uruguayan Juan Sartori as an investor.

Sartori has fully embraced his new surroundings on Wearside - even taking to the stands to meet supporters during the draw with Fleetwood on Saturday - and has earned praise from Donald for the enthusiastic and hands-on manner in which he has approached his role at the club.

Stewart Donald has revealed that South American players could be on their way

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And the input of Sartori, who has previously been involved with French giants Monaco, is starting to reap its rewards.

Perhaps where his influence is being felt most is in the club's highly-regarded academy, with the plan from the offset being that the 37-year-old would help the club in securing talented youngsters from his home continent.

Donald has now revealed that the wheels are firmly in motion in that respect, with several South American players set to make the move to Wearside as the club look to explore untapped markets.

Juan Sartori is aiding Sunderland with his South American influence

"He's had a big input." admitted the Sunderland chairman, speaking on the Roker Rapport Podcast.

"He's been talking to Paul Reid, primarily about getting some South American talent into the academy because we see a gap in the market there.

The Uruguayan arriving at the Stadium of Light on Saturday

"We're well on the way with that process. He will feed in a lot of South American players that we can take a look at.

"Some will work, some won't, but if the ones that work, work then it will be a great financial arrangement for us. In the short-term on the footballing side, it helps."

Away from the recruitment side of things, Sartori is having a profound impact on the club - and is really taking Sunderland to heart.

During Saturday's game, the Uruguayan was keen to explore all parts of the stadium along with several friends he had brought to their first Black Cats game - while he also showed off the stadium to his wife and new-born daughter via FaceTime.

And while Donald is naturally keen to extract his business expertise, he feels that this enthusiasm is pivotal and can prove to be infectious.

"He's there commercially and financially as well, if we need him and he's right at the forefront of that," he added

"I think the biggest thing with him is that, having not done a business with him before but knowing about his businesses, I know what he's going to bring on the business side.

"On the footballing side, which I think is absolutely important, he's unbelievably excited.

"I know he's been in the terraces but he's on all the time - 'I'm watching the game, is so and so playing, I can't wait for this, I'll get over for that game'.

"As a foreign investor, he could do what a lot of them have done and write a cheque and see what happens. But he's absolutely, 'what can I do on the footballing side with the South Americans? what can I bring there?'.

"What he's doing, which is what we really need him to do, is get really excited about the football, and he is excited about the potential.

"You could get carried away with Juan's enthusiasm. I think at the end of the first game, we were talking and I said it was a good start but there was a long way to go, and Juan said 'no, we'll win every game!'.

"You want that level of enthusiasm and I wasn't 100% sure, with him being South American, used to warmer climates and involved in a sexy football club at Monaco; Sunderland to an Englishman is fantastic but what would Juan make of it?

"He's come up and is absolutely loving it all."