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Updated: Jul 14

With Sunderland releasing so many first team players, it’s clear that a summer rebuild is needed. Our new owners need to impose their philosophy at the club with a successful and prudent transfer window. This is our fourth season in League One, so we need to sign the very best options available. Here are five players I think could make a real difference to our promotion hopes.


Recent news broke that Wolves are willing to sell Dion Sanderson for roughly £2 million. With the young defender being instrumental at the back for us before a major injury, it’s been no secret that our fans clearly adore Sanderson. He seems to be a great character and has arguably been one of our most successful loan signings of recent history. With Kyril Louis-Dreyfus potentially willing to splash the cash, the only stumbling block could be our League One status, as a number of Championship clubs are also rumoured to be interested.


Fraser is a player who has impressed in League One with both Burton Albion and MK Dons, and always looks capable of playing at a higher level. The attacking midfielder could bolster our attacking options along with the returning Elliot Embleton. At 26 years old, he is the ideal profile for a hungry, energetic player to add another dimension in a new-look Sunderland side. He’s also very versatile, which means that he will be very useful in filling in across the pitch during our inevitable injury crisis! If Aiden McGeady stays for another year, the two could be rotated in order to keep the squad fresh and motivated to impress.


With Charlie Wyke’s contract situation still up in the air, with a number of other clubs interested in signing him. If he leaves, we’ll certainly need a new man up front. A player of Yates’ stature, at just 5 foot 9, could form a “Quinn and Phillips-esque" partnership with Ross Stewart. A small, nippy striker will change the dynamic of the team, as we’ve never really played with a mobile forward since Josh Maja left. Never a prolific goal scorer in his career, Yates hit a purple patch with Blackpool which ultimately won them promotion. Coming off of his best ever season, he’ll be brimming with confidence. Any player of his ilk would thrive off the creative through balls of McGeady, stretching the defence in ways which Wyke just isn’t quick enough to do.


The Portsmouth goalkeeper has been excellent throughout our spell in League One, and finds himself out of contract this summer. He may be holding out for a Championship offer, but if no team comes in for him, we should go all out to get a top-quality goalkeeper for this level. Lee Burge has had impressive spells this season, and managed to get into the Team of the Season. However, we saw his frailties exposed against Lincoln as well as other mistakes this season, and we need someone with more consistency between the sticks. Burge was a good second keeper when covering for Jon McLaughlin, but unfortunately he isn’t cut out to be a promotion-winning goalkeeper at a club of our size.


Certainly one of the lesser-known players on this shortlist, Laird came through the Manchester United academy before a loan spell at MK Dons last season. With the Red Devils looking to find him more game time, Laird could be the solution to our perpetual right-back problem. The England youth international is highly thought of at United, and we have seen through Dion Sanderson that when done properly, the loan system can be highly successful. If Laird played at right back, Luke O’Nien would finally be free to play in midfield with his much-needed energy and tenacity.