Sunderland’s current financial difficulties are far from secret, but the likely £30m sale of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford should see at least some reinvestment in the playing staff, as whoever is in charge is faced with the task of rebuilding their depleted squad.
John O’Shea has been released, Lamine Kone has been linked with a move away and flop Papy Djilobodji has proven to be one of the worst signings in recent memory. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, Jason Denayer returns to Manchester City.
All this leaves the middle of Sunderland’s backline down to the bare bones.
With that in mind, one proven Championship defender they could possibly acquire relatively cheaply belongs to their arch rivals, and that is Grant Hanley.
DeAndre Yedlin and Jack Colback have made the transition from the Stadium of Light to St James’ in recent seasons (although the former was only on loan at Sunderland), but Hanley, who is unlikely to feature much in the Premier League, may well be open to coming the other way.
The Scotsman barely featured at the back-end of last season and made just ten appearances in the whole campaign, so it is unlikely Newcastle would expect to make a profit on the £3.83m-rated man.
The 25-year-old is a Championship stalwart, having spent all but one season of his career in the league, and has always been reliable when called upon.
In a period shrouded in uncertainty, a player of Hanley’s qualities is exactly what Sunderland require, as they embark on a season in unfamiliar territory.