Sammy Yu confirms takeover interest - but this is why he's unlikely to take charge at Sunderland

Sammy Yu insists he remains interested in striking a deal to buy Sunderland AFC from Stewart Donald.

Monday, 13th July 2020, 12:30 pm

But club sources have told the Echo that he is not currently being viewed as a genuine potential new owner for the club.

Yu has previously looked to hold takeover talks with Sunderland on a number of occasions, and held negotiations with Ellis Short prior to Donald taking control of the club in 2018.

But his recent attempts have been failed to progress beyond initial discussions, with Donald instead pursuing talks with other interested parties.

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Sammy Yu

There are serious doubts over whether Yu would be able to pass the EFL’s Owners and Directors Test were he to strike a deal with Sunderland, given he occupied the role of vice-chairman and football consultant during Carson Yeung’s reign at Birmingham City – which was dominated by a high-profile money laundering case involving Yeung.

But that hasn’t stopped the Hong Kong-based businessman trying to hold talks with Donald, the most recent of which came prior to the suspension of the League One season.

"It was about three or four months ago, just before the outbreak,” he explained speaking to the Echo.

"At the time he said that they had a deal done with someone else so we said ‘okay, fair enough’.

"I also spoke with Charlie and he named some of the criteria of a possible deal – but since then, nothing has happened. There has been no information, no communication at all.

"In fact, that was the first time we'd got as far as talking, but we never really got into anything to be honest.”

"For Sunderland, me and my group are always interested,” added Yu.

"But after two or three different attempts, we found that it’s difficult to communicate with Mr Donald and he hasn’t been giving a proper response to allow a negotiation.

"If, one day, he can come up with something concrete and has the appropriate manner to talk, then yes – it’s still on. We’re interested to go forward, but not until then.

"At times we were told that we could go ahead and talk,” he continued.

"But we never get to the stage where we can talk about concrete terms and conditions of the deal.

"It’s quite annoying and we’re quite saddened by it.”

There is also scepticism within the corridors of the Stadium of Light, hence why Yu’s interest is not being pursued by the club.

The man himself, however, insists that he would look to run Sunderland ‘in the proper way’ if a deal could be struck.

“Never mind about money, football is something I can’t live without,” he said.

"I love it and members of my group seriously love football. We want to do something and run Sunderland in the proper way for the best interests of the club in the future.

"But until we can have a proper conversation and negotiation with the current owner, we cannot do anything.”

Sunderland AFC has been officially up for sale for almost 200 days, though twice last summer the club came close to changing hands with Mark Campbell and the American FPP group holding talks.

Madrox, the company set up as the vehicle to acquire the club and in which Donald, Juan Sartori and Charlie Methven are shareholders, have recently stated they have spoken to a number of interested parties with conversations ongoing.

Madrox admitted to the Echo in May the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed the process and stated they’d only sell to a buyer who had the ‘long term future of the club and its well being at heart’.