Ex-Sunderland midfielder Paul Thirlwell has this message for the club's potential new owners

Former Sunderland midfielder Paul Thirlwell has urged the Black Cats’ potential new owners to prioritise investment in the squad - but has warned the American consortium to remain realistic.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 1:46 pm

The Wearsiders look set for a takeover by a four-man consortium, with a deal hoped to be completed in the coming weeks.

And Thirlwell, who played for the Black Cats between 1998 and 2004, has urged the club’s new owners to keep the fans at the heart of everything they do, having been impressed with the off-field work done by Stewart Donald since he took control of the club in 2018.

"Whatever they say they're going to do, just do it,” he advised the new owners, speaking to the Echo.

Ex-Sunderland midfielder Paul Thirlwell has a takeover message

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"Don't promise the world and then don't deliver it.

"To be fair, I think from when Stewart Donald has come in he has got the club and fans back together again.

"With the stadium seats, I thought that was a fantastic idea. It brought the fans and the club closer together again.

"That's all the fans want. As long as they feel part of something and you keep them in the loop and you're honest - I don't think they'll ask for any more than that."

Paul Thirlwell has spoken to the Echo about Sunderland's impending takeover

But Thirlwell, who captained the Black Cats for a brief spell, believes John Phelan, Glenn Fuhrman and Robert Platek may have to dip into their pockets to bolster Sunderland’s squad should a takeover be completed.

Indeed, the 40-year-old claims some big money buys in January could well prove crucial - both this season and in the long-term.

"The squad itself is a good squad, but if we were to go up then we would need to strengthen again,” he admitted.

"It's not like we've got a Championship squad in League One.

"I think we've got a squad that's capable of going up from the outside looking in, but there's a lot of strong squads in there.

"If new owners come in, there may be some investment to put in the squad and January to get us over the line."