Sunderland need to rebuild and take stock of the familiar situation that they find themselves in this summer.
The Black Cats are currently preparing to mount yet another promotion charge after being consigned to yet another season in Sky Bet League One after losing out in the play-offs to Lincoln City.
Lee Johnson has seen his transfer plans slightly scuppered by the various financial constraints that have been brought on by the ongoing pandemic, meaning that the North East outfit have had to be clever in their approach to bring in new faces to the Stadium of Light.
The likes of Alex Pritchard, Corry Evans and Jacob Carney have all arrived as free agents from Huddersfield Town, Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United respectively, whilst young defender Callum Doyle has been borrowed on loan from Premier League champions Manchester City.
However there are still plenty of areas that are in need of further numbers if the Black Cats are to finally end their promotion hoodoo.
Indeed it appears that Johnson has identified the defence as an area that is in need of further surgery, with Football Insider today reporting that Sunderland have made an approach for Nottingham Forest right back Jordan Gabriel.
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The highly sought after 22-year-old impressed many whilst on loan with Blackpool last season as they claimed promotion back to the Championship and it is also said that the Seasiders have made an approach to bring the player to Bloomfield Road permanently.
Bringing in a player of Gabriel’s talent and potential would be a major coup for the Black Cats as right back has been a position that they have found problematic in recent seasons due to injuries and the lack of a consistent starter in that area.
The summer departure of Conor McLaughlin has heighted the need for a fresh name on the right hand side of the backline and it appears that this pacey and attacking defender could well fit the bill for what Johnson is looking for.
Sunderland still possess a pull despite finding themselves in the third tier, with the signings of Pritchard and Evans showcasing this, so it would be fair to assume that much of Gabriel’s decision over whether to move to the North East or the North West will greatly depend on Forest’s stance and his desire to play higher.
Even if the player doesn’t make the move to the Stadium of Light, no one can fault the club for showing the ambition to aim high in what is a very treacherous market at present.