JACK ROSS insists Sunderland’s remaining summer transfer business is not dependent on Stewart Donald’s ongoing discussions about outside investment into the club.

While a potential deal with American-based businessman Mark Campbell broke down earlier this summer, Donald confirmed he is close to striking an agreement with a new business partner when he appeared on the Roker Rapport podcast at the weekend.

“We’ve got a preferred partner, someone we think can come with us to take the club to the next level, and I think we are very, very close,” said Donald, who is adamant he will retain a significant stake no matter what happens in the next few weeks. “We don’t want people who talk a good game, say they have money and then don’t back it up, or people who have money but don’t know how to spend it.”

Earlier in the summer, takeover discussions held up Sunderland’s recruitment drive, but Ross is confident Donald’s ongoing talks will not adversely affect his attempts to strengthen his squad before the League One transfer window closes.

Ross has missed out on a number of left-back targets in the last few weeks, but his failure to land a new defender has had nothing to do with financial matters, and he remains confident he will be able to seal a deal before the September 2 deadline.

“Whatever does or does not happen will not affect what we’re looking to do before the end of the month,” said Ross, who takes his side to Rochdale this evening. “I guess if someone was to ride into the club with a huge amount of money that they wanted to be spent, that might alter the thinking, but even if something like that was to happen, it’s never ideal to be trying to do too much towards the end of the month.

“We know what we want - we’ve been actively pursuing a left-sided defender for a while now, and we’re still trying to get that sorted – and none of that is dependent on investment or takeovers, or whatever might or might not happen.”

Beyond signing a left-back, Ross expects the rest of Sunderland’s transfer business to be dictated by a desire to balance the squad. The Black Cats boss is already having to leave senior players out of his matchday 18, and is unlikely to make any further additions unless people leave.

“It’s not a case of players leaving to balance things from a financial point of view, it’s more about balancing out the numbers in the squad,” he said.

“The numbers are okay at the moment, so we don’t want to fatten that too much. If we do think there are players out there that might strengthen us, then we might have to balance that with players going out as well.

“I think we have good balance throughout the squad, and good competition for places.”