The Black Cats are £137m in debt but the financial blow of losing Premier League status will be cushioned by £40m in parachute payments and raising a similar figure in the transfer market.

Manager David Moyes would love to keep England prospect Pickford but knows that with most of the top clubs keen on him and his England hopes resting on a Premier League presence, the 23-year-old will almost certainly move on from his hometown club.

Moyes has already scoffed at suggestions he will be sold for less than £20m with the club believing a scramble for his signature – Arsenal, Everton, both Manchester clubs, Liverpool and West Ham are all ready to pounce – will nudge his valuation towards £30m.