Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson could be looking at a full rebuild this summer with the amount of players that could end up departing Wearside.
The club’s retained list which was published following play-off semi-final defeat to Lincoln City saw confirmation of seven players departing when their contracts expired.
That included the likes of Grant Leadbitter and Max Power, and if new deals can’t be reached then Charlie Wyke, Aiden McGeady, Luke O’Nien and Denver Hume will also be following them out of the door of the Stadium of Light.
Wyke, McGeady and O’Nien all provide a bit of class but Hume is one for the future still at the age of 22, although he still has decent experience with 64 League One outings under his belt.
It would be a blow for the club if they weren’t able to tie Hume down, especially as the only other left-back who was on the books has been released as well in the form of Callum McFadzean.
To many Sunderland fans he won’t be a great loss but it does mean a void needs to be filled and former Black Cats striker Kevin Phillips believes the left-back position needs to be a priority going into the transfer window.
Can you name the Sunderland player who has been carded the most in each of the last 16 seasons?
“Of course, yeah,” Phillips told Football Insider about the club’s need to get a left-back in before anyone else.
“They’re going to need a natural left-back, you can’t rely on Luke O’Nien to be playing left-back and centre half next season.
“I think they need to find players that are suitable for their own position and maybe Luke can be used somewhere else in his rightful position.”
Sunderland definitely need a top-quality left-back that they can rely on to either battle with Hume for a starting spot next season – or they will need two if the 22-year-old decides to reject a new contract.
Black Cats fans were never quite satisfied with McFadzean and his performances overall – for all the club had attacking talent both full-back areas were a source of struggle all season especially as Luke O’Nien was forced into centre-back because of injuries.
Johnson will be wanting to strengthen so many positions this summer but left-back is definitely near the, if not top of the list.