SAMMY YU is regarded as the likeliest buyer of Sunderland, although it remains unclear whether the former Birmingham City vice-chairman is willing to meet Stewart Donald’s £37.6m asking price for the club.

Donald met with a number of Sunderland’s supporters’ groups on Thursday and insisted he remains committed to selling the Black Cats. Members of the media were prevented from attending the meeting, and Donald opted not to conduct any interviews with the written press, however he spoke with BBC Newcastle to confirm that he has not yet received a bid that meets his requirements for selling up.

He has spoken to Michael Gray, but while the former Sunderland defender is trying to put together a consortium to complete a takeover, his efforts are understood to be at a formative stage.

Having made an unsuccessful attempt to buy Sunderland last summer, Mark Campbell is known to be involved in a new takeover initiative. However, having also made an unsuccessful attempt to buy Scottish side Falkirk, there is deep scepticism about the US-based businessman’s ability to raise the funds needed to complete a deal on Wearside.

Yu, whose spell with Birmingham preceded a period as general manager of Chinese side Shenzhen Ruby, has the backing needed to push through a deal. He is aware of Donald’s financial demands, but is understood to regard them as too high given Sunderland’s failure to win promotion to the Championship in each of the last two seasons. A well-placed source also claims he is concerned at the current uncertainty over the start date for the new League One season and the possibility of a number of matches in the first half of the new campaign having to be played either behind-closed-doors or with a limited attendance.

“Sammy Yu came to us, we were expecting an offer from him months ago and I know there has been a lot of speculation about (his interest), but, as of yet, no offer,” said Donald. “We tried to get hold of him this week, and he said he would come back to us.

“As far as Michael Gray is concerned, we phoned him this week and asked if his consortium was interested. They didn’t know the figures, so we gave them the figures, and he is going to get back to us.

“Selling the club is very simple. It's a very straightforward sale. Jim Rodwell (chief executive) brought someone to me months ago, and Tom Sloanes (executive director) also brought someone in, and those enquiries were dealt with straightaway, but they didn't proceed. At this current time, there is no one who has provided proof of funds and showed the intent to close off a deal.”

Donald is standing by his £37.6m asking price, insisting it will mean he is able to take away what he has put into the club without losing any money or making a profit.

He insists he will repay the outstanding balance that is owed by Madrox, the company he set up to act as the ownership vehicle for Sunderland, which stood at around £11.5m in May, and argues the club is in a much better position than when he inherited it from Ellis Short two summers ago.

“The price is, as all the bidders have been told, what I paid for it,” said Donald. “I’m not interested in making a profit. Originally, the asking price was £40m but there was a readjustment for (former player Ricky) Alvarez, so it is £37.6m.

“There has been a lot of talk about parachute payments, but that money is going back in and, pre-sale, all that money will have been passed back to the club.

“I have always said that those monies would be repaid and around £11m has already been put back, and the rest will be put back before a sale progresses, although that is a little way off I think.

“I don’t think I should take a loss on the football club because it is in much better condition. It was losing £30m, and it is now losing less than £5m - and we demonstrated that the 14,000 season ticket holders that we inherited could become 25,000.

“So, I would argue that you pay more for a business that is losing £5m than for one that is losing £30m - so asking for the same amount is fair.”

The Red And White Army, one of the fans’ groups involved in Thursday’s discussions, have issued an account of the talks in which they claim Donald accused supporters of hampering his attempts to push through a sale by being abusive to him and his family, acts that would be likely to put off potential buyers.

His comments have proved controversial, but he is clearly upset at the level of the vitriol that has been hurled in his direction in the last few months.

“The fans have asked me to leave, and I am getting a little bit of abuse, as I am sure you can imagine,” he said in his radio interview. “My phone number was posted online, and I have had to take some security measures.

“The fans want me out, the abuse is increasing, they said I was killing the club, but I am doing my best - which I appreciate isn't good enough.”