WITH Kyril Louis-Dreyfus’ takeover of Sunderland on the brink of being formally ratified by the EFL, Lee Johnson has expressed his confidence that the club’s new owner is arriving with “the right motives and ideas” to take the club forward.

Having watched Sunderland’s 2-1 defeat to Shrewsbury Town from the executive seats at Montgomery Waters Meadow on Tuesday night, Louis-Dreyfus has spent the last couple of days in the North-East immersing himself in the day-to-day operations of the club he is about to purchase.

The 23-year-old is understood to have spent time at both the Stadium of Light and Sunderland’s Academy of Light training ground, and has held discussions with Johnson as well as sporting director Kristjaan Speakman and chief executive Jim Rodwell.

The son of the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, a French businessman who was chief executive of Adidas and Saatchi & Saatchi, and Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, whose estimated personal wealth of $5.6bn makes her the richest Russian woman in the world, Sunderland’s prospective new majority shareholder does not lack for financial backing.

He boasts extensive sporting experience despite his tender years, with his family having previously run Ligue 1 side Marseille and been heavily involved with Belgium’s Club Brugge, and while the exact details of his agreement with current owner Stewart Donald are not known, his buyout will not see Sunderland having to take on any new leveraged debt.

While it had initially been feared Louis-Dreyfus would be a largely hands-off owner overseeing things from afar, the initial signs suggest he is likely to be much more heavily involved in Sunderland’s strategic operations. He is expected to purchase a base in the North-East, and sources claim Tuesday’s appearance at Shrewsbury is likely to become a reasonably regular occurrence.

Johnson certainly appears excited to be working with him, and has told Sunderland’s long-suffering supporters they should be equally enthused at the prospect of having Louis-Dreyfus in charge.

“I’m very, very confident in his motives, and I’m very confident in his ideas,” said the Black Cats’ head coach. “He’s probably the most well-rounded 24-year-old I’ve ever met in my life.

“He’s very bright, he’s intelligent and he’s got good ideas. Obviously, he’s got experience as well, and his experiences remind me a little bit of my own experiences as a player and then a manager. I had a front-row seat to be able to see my dad managing while I was growing up, and he’s obviously had that with his family and their ownership of Olympique Marseille and Club Brugge.

“There’s some good ideas, and every contact I have with Kyril really impresses me more and more. I think he’s got a sound board behind him, depending on how that shake-up works, in terms of experience and what has gone well and what hasn’t gone well.

“When I came to the football club, I really believed that we’ve got to be brave, and we’ve got to have a long-term plan. For the staff and players to get clarity on that will set us on a really nice path and give everybody that fresh start that everybody wants.”

With Donald having been looking to sell up for more than a year, Sunderland have suffered from a lack of executive-level leadership in the last couple of seasons.

Louis-Dreyfus’ arrival should rectify that weakness, with Johnson adamant that everyone involved with the Black Cats can only benefit from some clear and explicit leadership from the top.

“The messaging has to come from the top,” said Johnson. “The best clubs that I’ve seen and been involved in have that really strong, positive messaging from the top.

“That communication line is strong and effectively, the head coach becomes a disciple of that and that's the way it should be. You should fit the club's philosophy and that way you can build. I think it's a really good thing, I really do.”

The EFL are understood to be close to formally confirming the change of ownership, with questions over the funding of the club in the next couple of seasons having been satisfactorily answered.

“Everything I hear is that it’s really, really close – about as close as it can get,” added Johnson. “People will have seen Kyril at the latest game – I think that was quite well documented – and I expect us to get used to having him around the place, seeing his face and having him introduce his messaging. At the same time, though, I can’t give any definitive timescale or chronological order for when that may happen or not.”