The Black Cats already have some of the ingredients needed to compete at a higher level with the likes of Bailey Wright, Danny Batth and Corey Evans already having plenty of previous experience in the second tier.
There are also others that are likely to thrive including Luke O’Nien, with the 27-year-old arguably unlucky not to make the step up from League One prior to this year after becoming a crucial asset to the Wearside outfit’s cause.
Quiz: Can you name which club Rangers signed these 28 midfielders from?
Ross Stewart, however, only established himself as a key player in the early stages of the 2021/22 season following the departure of Charlie Wyke, with the former’s 26 goals playing an integral part in getting the Black Cats back to the second tier.
However, they may face a fight to keep hold of him with several sides thought to be interested in luring him away from the Stadium of Light in the coming months.
Another side have recently entered the race for his services – and we are taking a closer look below as we discuss what we already know about this story and weigh up whether it’s likely to happen or not.
What do we know so far?
Scottish Premiership outfit Rangers have placed Stewart on their list of targets for the summer, according to a report from the Northern Echo.
The same article states that he is being lined up by the Gers as a potential replacement for Alfredo Morelos with the Colombian yet to put pen to paper on a new contract north of the border with 12 months left on his existing deal.
Despite not needing to cash in on him this summer, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side are unwilling to allow him to move on for free next year and may be open to offers if he rejects fresh terms in Glasgow.
Stewart is their number one target and could move for him if Morelos is to move, though the former is happy at the Stadium of Light at this stage. Officials on Wearside are weighing up the possibility of offering him a new contract – and with good reason considering his existing deal expires in the summer of 2023.
Norwich City and Swansea have also been linked with a move for the 25-year-old recently.
Is it likely to happen?
Considering he’s Scottish, a move back to his home nation may be tempting for Stewart who will want to do everything he possibly can to remain in Steve Clarke’s plans, even with his nation not competing at the World Cup later this year.
The Gers would give him the platform to impress and with the forward only having one year left on his contract, Sunderland could potentially decide to cash in on the 25-year-old if they receive a lucrative offer for his services.
In an ideal world for the Black Cats, they would have Stewart tied down to a new deal this summer and that would allow them to maximise his price tag, but may be forced into a sale if he pushes for a move.
However, the Wearside club are now in the second tier and that may boost their chances of retaining one of their prized assets by a considerable amount. And with the striker happy at the club, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sign fresh terms.
Because of this, it would be difficult to see a move to Ibrox materialising at this stage.