The summer transfer window is going to be an absolutely vital one for Sunderland.
Having finally won promotion back to the Championship via the League One play-offs at the end of the 2021/22 season, the Black Cats must now get their business right in the market.
That way, the club can of course give themselves the best possible chance of re-establishing themselves as a second-tier side, and pushing back on towards the Premier League.
As a result, Sunderland will have to get things right when it comes to both the players they sign, and the ones they allow to leave, to ensure they have a squad capable of remaining competitive next season.
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So with that in mind, we’ve taken a look at three transfer stories that could dominate at Sunderland over the course of the next month, right here.
According to reports from The Daily Mirror (05/06, p69), Sunderland are interested in signing veteran goalkeeper John Ruddy.
The 35-year-old is currently a free agent following his departure from Wolves, and could provide some important cover, competition and support for Anthony Patterson, following the departures of Lee Burge and Ron Thorben Hoffmann.
A move to the Stadium of Light would also reunite Ruddy with his former Norwich manager Alex Neil, with the duo having previously won promotio from the Championship during their time together at Carrow Road.
One familiar face to Sunderland fans who could be back at the Stadium of Light this summer, is Dion Sanderson.
The defender previously made 28 appearances for the Black Cats during a spell on loan with the club from Wolves during the 2020/21 campaign, and it has now been reported that Sunderland are keen to sign the 22-year-old again.
Sanderson is apparently considering the possibility of leaving Molineux this summer, and with Sheffield United also credited with an interest in the defender, there could be quite a battle on for his signature.
In terms of outgoings, one player who will present a major concern for Sunderland in the transfer window, is Ross Stewart.
The striker was in outstanding form the Black Cats during 2021/22, firing them to promotion with 26 league and play-off goals, although that has inevitably attracted interest from elsewhere in the 25-year-old.
Norwich, Swansea and Rangers have all been credited with an interest in Stewart, who has just a year remaining on his current contract at the Stadium of Light, meaning Sunderland may have something of a battle on to retain his services this summer.