Sunderland AFC takeover: Fresh twist amid reports co-owner Juan Sartori is ‘trying to find backers' to take control
The Sunderland takeover saga took a fresh twist today amid reports co-owner Juan Sartori is ‘trying to find backers' in a bid to take control on Wearside.
Stewart Donald has come under increasing pressure from an angry fanbase to sell with the club facing up to a third season in League One.
It emerged last month Donald was in exclusive talks over a possible sale but no further details have since emerged over who with.
There was suggestions that a deal could even be done before the start of the season.
There has been no confirmation those talks are with Sartori, however, it is being reported Sartori - who has remained the enigma at the heart of Madrox’s tenure as owners of Sunderland AFC – is trying to find backers.
It is understood Donald is looking to sell and end his involvement with Sunderland completely but the latest report hints there may be a change in the current share distribution if Sartori was successful.
Donald is the majority shareholder, owning 74 per cent of shares, Sartori 20% and Charlie Methven 6%.
Alan Nixon, of the Sun, tweeted: “Sunderland. Sartori is trying to find backers. Poss change in share distribution among current regime. Has pals in south of France who might help out.”
Sartori was presented to supporters as the wealthy, well-connected businessman who could take the club to the next level after the initial months of restructuring behind the scenes as the Black Cats adjusted to life in the third tier.
Yet two years on from his arrival, his interest looked to observers to have all but dwindled.
A political career in Uruguay has taken precedence, leaving supporters wondering why he became involved in the first place and what his intentions were and are now.
The Echo is yet to receive a response to those questions.
Donald reaffirmed his commitment to sell Sunderland last month following a meeting with fan groups, before confirming his £37.6million price tag.
William Storey, Mark Campbell and Sammy Yu are all keen but it was revealed last month that Donald was in a period of exclusivity with another party.
There has been no further public comment since from Donald or the club, with the club unable to discuss or provide information regarding any individual, or group, that has previously signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Sunderland has been officially up for sale since the start of the year, though twice last summer the club came close to changing hands with Campbell and the American FPP group holding talks.
Donald has been criticised by fans, with supporters worried about the future direction of the club, the failure to win promotion and the raft of young players leaving the academy. Supporters have also expressed concerns over the finances.
Madrox admitted to the Echo in May the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed the sale 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’.