AMERICAN businessman Mark Campbell is close to agreeing a deal that would see him replace Stewart Donald as the majority shareholder at Sunderland.

Campbell is set to finalise an agreement that will see him acquire a controlling 74 per cent stake in the Black Cats before the end of the month.

The US investor is understood to have proposed an arrangement that would see him buy up 64 per cent of the club from Donald and a further ten per cent from Uruguayan Juan Sartori, who came on to the club’s board at the end of last summer.

If the deal goes through, Donald and Sartori would both retain a ten per cent stake of their own, with Charlie Methven holding on to the six per cent ownership that he agreed when the current regime took over from former owner Ellis Short 13 months ago.

At this stage, it is not known what sum Campbell is set to pay for the shares or what profit Donald and Sartori will make from their initial investment.

Donald bought Sunderland for around £40m just over a year ago, but it has since been suggested that a portion of the club’s parachute payments from the Premier League was used to fund the purchase.

Campbell is understood to have completed a process of due diligence, although a change of ownership would have to be ratified by the EFL.

Sunderland’s owners have spoken to a number of potential investors in the last couple of months, but Campbell, who sat alongside Donald as Sunderland lost the League One play-off final at Wembley, is now regarded as the only serious bidder left around the table.

A stockbroker by trade, he has agreed to retain Jack Ross as manager despite last season’s failure to win promotion to the Championship, but is expected to appoint former Celtic chief scout John Park as Sunderland’s new director of football.

“We expect a resolution or some clarity before the end of June and in time for pre-season,” said Methven, in an interview with the Daily Mail. “It is a case of re-examining the situation and asking, ‘Is it the right deal at the right time?’ We have to consider what we think is best for the club in the short, medium and long term.

“Stewart has said that he is in discussions with a number of potential investors, and three or four of those are still in play. 

“No share purchase agreement has yet been signed, and were it going to be a new majority shareholder, they would still need to go through the EFL approval process.

“So it remains a possibility that Stewart will stay in control and nothing will change. The necessity for investment is no longer there because we will still be in League One next season.”