With Sunderland looking to make the most of a limited budget, the Black Cats should look towards the free agent market.
While every club has ample tales of free agents who were better left alone, there are always gems hidden away. One possible option is ex-Hamilton midfielder Ali Crawford.
The 26-year old Scot expressed his desire to move south of the border to England earlier on this season. This came as he looks to move on from what has been an injury-ravaged season. He was restricted to 14 appearances in the first season for six years that he played fewer than 30 games. This run has come about as he has been an integral part of an Accies side that has consistently defied the odds to stay up.
In going for Crawford, Sunderland would be securing a creative and dangerous player. He was 6th in the Scottish Premiership for key passes per 90 minutes last season. Additionally, he has a fondness for striking from distance, with 63 shots from outside the box in his last full season. In a league like League One, he will be afforded the space to make the most of these talents and could well pose a potent threat to many a defence.
There will be concerns that he is untested in English leagues, but, at present, Sunderland have to make courageous decisions in the transfer market. Indeed, at 271 appearances, 39 goals, and 65 assists, it would be fair to say Crawford is not too much of a risk.