By Kieran Maguire

6th Jul, 2021 | 7:00am

Kieran Maguire: Louis-Dreyfus may be trying to send message amid 'strange' Sunderland reveal

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus may have been attempting to send a message that he does not have an “open chequebook” by placing Sunderland stars on furlough.

That is according to finance guru and Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively as the Black Cats returned to pre-season training on 28th June.

Chronicle Live reported on 25th June that the club was making use of the Government’s job retentions scheme for a second successive summer.

They are obliged to begin paying their playing and non-playing staff’s wages again now that they have officially returned to work.

Louis-Dreyfus, 23, took over at the Stadium of Light in February.

Maguire speculates that the mega-wealthy Sunderland owner may have used the scheme in order to temper spending expectations.

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“It’s a strange one this,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.

“Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, he’s a 23-year-old billionaire. You would think that is the kind of money is that you find down the back of the sofa.

“You’ve got 25 or so people in the squad, so you’re saving money for six weeks before they come back into training.

“I don’t know whether this is trying to get a message across to Sunderland fans to say that he is very wealthy but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is going to have an open chequebook.

“I think this is a note of caution. But looking at it purely from a financial fair play perspective, why not take it?”

In other news, Kevin Phillips laments “big blow for Sunderland” amid latest in Dion Sanderson transfer saga.