A £100m takeover deal for Sunderland could be agreed in principle by the end of this week, Sky sources understand.
Two rival bids, one from Germany and a second, a multi-national consortium, led by a group of Sunderland fans and financed in part with American money are working night-and-day to reach an agreement with present owner Ellis Short.
Short is keen to sell, with an initial asking price of around £90m, rising significantly if the club wins promotion back to the Premier League in the next few seasons.
Short met with representatives from both rival bids in London last week and we understand the German bid remains the favourite to agree a deal with the 56-year-old American.
Sky sources understand that a further two bidding groups are interested in purchasing the club. However, the complex nature of the deal means both are unlikely to conclude the due diligence process in time.
While the Germans remain favourites to take a controlling stake in the club, a highly credible bid from a group of wealthy Sunderland fans is also at an advanced stage.
Gabe Turner, Ben Turner and Leo Pearlman from the television production company Fulwell 73 have joined forces with Tony Adams and the former Chelsea chief executive Paul Smith to launch the rival bid.
Fulwell refers to one of the old stands at Sunderland’s former home, Roker Park. The 73, refers to the year they won the FA Cup 1-0 against Leeds United, with a goal from Ian Porterfield.
We understand both bidders are keen to conclude business quickly. The club is without a manager and players are due to return to training in the next few weeks.
Sunderland enjoy a huge fan base, a modern stadium and some of the best training facilities in the country. Despite their relegation at the end of the season, the club are set to receive more than £90m in parachute payments from the Premier League.
Short bought the club from the Drumaville consortium back in 2008 for a reported £90m. Since then he has invested around £200m into the club.Soccer Accumulator Bonus
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