JACK ROSS has been assured that his job will be safe if Mark Campbell completes his proposed takeover of Sunderland – and the Black Cats boss has also been promised he will have the biggest transfer budget in League One this summer.

Campbell, a British stockbroker who conducts most of his business in the United States, is confident of replacing Stewart Donald as Sunderland’s majority shareholder before the end of the month.

The financier, who has also been attempting to secure a controlling stake at Scottish club Falkirk, is close to finalising an agreement that will see him acquire a controlling 74 per cent stake in the Black Cats.

He has 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.

Campbell intends to appoint former Celtic chief scout John Park as Sunderland’s new director of football, but will not be removing Ross from his current position despite the Black Cats’ failure to win promotion to the Championship last season.

Ross is understood to have discussed the current situation with Donald and Methven, and has been assured that his job is not at risk. However, he will be left in no doubt that promotion is regarded as a necessity next season.

Donald and Methven have already drawn up detailed budgetary plans for the close season, and Campbell has indicated he is happy to go along with the current proposals.

That will mean Sunderland budgeting for a total annual income of around £20m next term, and should mean a reasonably sizeable transfer kitty for Ross this summer. A final tranche of legacy payments should be covered by Sunderland’s remaining parachute payments, so Ross will also be able to spend any sums that are raised by player sales or reductions in the wage bill.

Sunderland have already received around €1.5m from the permanent sale of Lamine Kone to Strasbourg this summer, while Adam Matthews is set leave as a free agent at the end of his contract. Bryan Oviedo, who is interesting Belgian side Club Brugge, is also likely to be sold.

It is not yet known what sum Campbell is paying for his 74 per cent stake in Sunderland, although recent reports suggested Donald and Methven had valued the whole of the club at around £50m.

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.

“We expect a resolution or some clarity before the end of June and in time for pre-season,” said Methven. “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.”

* Sunderland have announced a pre-season game at North-East neighbours South Shields. The Black Cats will head to Mariners Park to take on the Northern Premier League side on Thursday, July 11 (7.30pm).