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Sunderland transfer rumour round up: Black Cats eye improvements in key positions ahead of new promotion bid



Sunderland narrowly missed out their aim of promotion last season when they were defeated by Charlton Athletic in the League One playoff final.

Stewart Donald and Jack Ross have done a good job of stabilising the club, but Sunderland lacked that cutting edge to get them across the line.

Much of that is due to the failure to replace striker Josh Maja, who scored 15 league goals before a January move to Bordeaux.

This summer the club will be determined to put that right, and they have already targeted a number of areas they are aiming to improve upon.

As well as incomings, a number of players have also been linked with moves away from the club. While the squad is not in need of a total rebuild, Ross still has a lot of work on his hands to turn his team into winners in order to claim an automatic promotion spot next season.

Here we round up the latest transfer talk involving the Black Cats…

Stewart Downing

The former Middlesbrough winger will be a familiar face for Sunderland fans. He made seven appearances for the Black Cats in 2003, scoring three goals, and since then has appeared against Sunderland numerous times.

Now 34, he is currently a free agent after being released by Middlesbrough last week, but he still has a lot to offer and Sunderland are reportedly interested.

Not only would be provide experience and leadership to Sunderland, but he would still be a menace in the third tier. His crossing is still brilliant and he would chip in with goals and assists throughout the season.

Jason Pearce

Pearce was a key part of the Charlton defence which overcame Sunderland at Wembley and his performances across the season have caught the eye of Sunderland.

Now 31, Pearce has been deemed not good enough for the Championship by the Addicks, despite an impressive season in the third tier.

That means he is available on a free this summer. His experience, influence, and strength in defence all point to him being a bargain signing for whoever lands him, with Portsmouth also rumoured to be interested.

Lawrence Shankland

The Scottish forward is a man in high demand this summer, and it is no surprise after he struck 34 times for Ayr United in the Scottish Championship.

Swansea, Nottingham Forest and Hull are also monitoring the 23-year-old, who is available on a free due to his contract expiring at the end of June.

Despite Championship interest, Shankland could favour Sunderland. He would be closer to his home in Scotland and he could quickly become a fans favourite if he starts to deliver on the goal scoring front.

Lee Cattermole

The tough-tackling midfielder has been a long-term servant to the club, having joined almost 10 years ago in August 2009.

Now 31, he is attracting interest from Sheffield Wednesday, who could provide him with the opportunity to play in the Championship once again.

It would be a tough decision for Cattermole to make. He is clearly loyal to the club and has stuck with Sunderland through many hardships over the last few years, but the opportunity to depart and experience the Championship once again could be difficult to resist.

Bryan Oviedo

The Chilean has become a first team regular at Sunderland over the past two years, and he is a player who should clearly be playing above League One level.

As a result, the Black Cats could struggle to keep him at the club for another summer, with Club Brugge reportedly keen on the left-back.

Oviedo made 31 appearances last season for his club, and Sunderland were a much better team with him in the side.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Sunderland transfer rumour round up: Black Cats eye improvements in key positions ahead of new promotion bid

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