This is an interesting time to be a Sunderland fan.
Behind the eight ball in the league, Stewart Donald is desperately trying to sell the club and has always been keen to ensure he doesn’t outstay his welcome.
With the Black Cats again struggling in League One, there feels no better time than now to finally relinquish his majority stake.
Indeed, he could be on the verge of achieving that. The Guardian reported a number of weeks ago that Juan Sartori and 22-year-old Kyril Louis-Dreyfus had agreed a deal with Donald to buy the club.
Clearly, there are still some parts of the transaction to be tied up as neither businessman have walked through the door yet.
What happens when they finally gain control will be exciting to witness. There have already been claims that Dreyfus will look to exploit his homeland – the French market – while there are also suggestions that Sartori will take influence from his father-in-law.
That happens to be Russian billionaire and Monaco shareholder Dmitry Rybolovlev who despite spending a vast sum of money in Ligue 1, has put a lot of effort into ensuring the French club have a steady stream of academy products coming through.
That can only be a good thing if Sunderland follow similar methods.
Unfortunately, however, Sartori and Dreyfus’ influence in the north-east may be incredibly small to begin with. In fact, they could struggle to implement much in terms of the playing squad.
That’s because of a new EFL ruling that was introduced last summer.
The rule we’re talking about is the salary cap, something League 1 and League 2 clubs voted in favour of. Coincidentally, it was something that Sunderland actually voted against, and with a takeover now on the verge of going through, it’s going to hold them back.
You can understand why the Black Cats voted against it given they have someone in Aiden McGeady still on £31k-a-week at the Stadium of Light.
What the legislation means is that a club cannot spend over £2.5m on basic wages, taxes, bonuses, image rights and agent fees.
Consequently, paying out for new players in January is incredibly unlikely.
Financial power at Sunderland will presumably be pretty high in ordinary circumstances, but in this case, the salary cap is set to play against them.
It feels like Sartori and Dreyfus will find life tough from the off.