As Sunderland embark on their return to the Sky Bet Championship, there is set to be a host of fresh faces at the Stadium of Light, including a new manager, as the club looks to forget the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League last season.
Two high-profile players are all set to leave Sunderland this summer, with Jermain Defoe and Jordan Pickford set for new challenges with AFC Bournemouth and Everton respectively, the latter moving for a reported £30m – money that must be invested back into the playing squad.
There is no doubt that Defoe and Pickford will be missed, but Sunderland are in desperate need of a fresh approach after years of disappointment, and more departures will be set to follow the duo out of the Stadium of Light, before new faces are brought in.
Sunderland will need to replace Defoe’s goals this summer, and one man who could potentially do that is Newcastle United’s Aleksandar Mitrovic, who found himself out-of-favour under Rafa Benitez at St James’ Park last season.
The Serbian was limited to just 25 Championship appearances last season, with the majority of those coming as a substitute, as Dwight Gayle was favoured by Benitez.
Mitrovic, 22, scored just four Championship goals for the Magpies, and will again be expected to find opportunities limited at St James’ Park next season, following Newcastle’s promotion.
The striker scored nine Premier League goals during the 2015/16 season for Newcastle, showing if he is given an extended run of games, he is more than capable of delivering goals, particularly if he drops back into the Championship.
Mitrovic would bring aggression to the Sunderland frontline, and with a point to prove, his energy could help Sunderland and their supporters on their return to the Championship, ensuring that everybody associated with the club hits the ground running in the 2017/18 campaign.
Defoe’s goals simply must be replaced this summer, and Mitrovic is certainly a man Sunderland should consider making a move for this summer, if they want to make a serious impact back in the Championship.