This is Sunderland's new-look squad for the 2021/22 season - if the latest transfer rumours are true
Lee Johnson and the club’s recruitment team remain hard at work behind the scenes to bring in new faces after seven players departed the Stadium of Light at the end of the last campaign.
And with the squad now back in pre-season training, transfer activity is set to ramp-up – with the club’s first pre-season game at Spennymoor Town now just around the corner.
Transfer rumours will no doubt continue up to and after that fixture, with Sunderland linked with some interesting names.
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The stopper saw his deal at Sunderland extended at the end of the 2020/21 season, and looks set to start the campaign as the club's number one.
So just for fun, we’ve taken a look at how the Black Cats’ squad could look this season if some of the latest transfer rumours are true.
It’s a squad packed with new signings, but would it be enough to achieve promotion from League One?
Sterry is set to become a free agent as his deal at Hartlepool United comes to an end. Pools have offered him fresh terms, but Sunderland - and a host of other EFL and National League clubs - are understood to be monitoring his situation.
Always a reliable presence at the back, the Australian centre back is set to be a key player once again as Sunderland head into the 2021/22 season.
What a signing this would be! The Wolves youngster is wanted by a host of clubs, and reports have suggested that Sunderland have already seen a £1million bid for Sanderson knocked-back. This will be an interesting saga to follow...
Hume is one of four players still weighing-up the offer of fresh terms at Sunderland, but hopes are high that he will remain with the club for the new campaign.
Another man in demand this summer is Crooks, with the Rotherham United midfielder also attracting admiring glances from Ipswich Town. But could Sunderland - who have also been linked with a move - pip the Tractor Boys to the post?
As revealed by the Echo, Galbraith is one of the midfield options being considered by Sunderland this summer. A Northern Irish international, he could be an interesting option on a loan deal.
Crewe Alexandra have slapped a £1million price tag on the winger, with a host of League One clubs thought to be keen on a move. Sunderland are one of those to be rumoured to be interested in Dale this summer.
Reports have suggested that Sunderland are growing confident of retaining O'Nien - and if he does indeed remain on Wearside, and should defensive reinforcements be signed, could we see him play higher up the field next season?
Another player who Sunderland are hopeful of retaining, McGeady is sure to have a big influence on the side moving forward.
Pigott has admirers in the Championship, but reports have suggested that Sunderland are willing to offer attractive financial terms in order to bring the striker to the Stadium of Light - with Charlie Wyke looking likely to leave.
Having signed a new contract with Sunderland this summer, Patterson is likely to be given a chance to challenge Lee Burge.
The Derry City and Northern Irish youth international defender has been linked with both Sunderland and Hearts by reports local to his current club. He would have to displace Sunderland's more experienced defensive options if he did arrive on Wearside.
The midfielder showed flashes of why Lee Johnson brought him to the club in the second half of last season, and is likely to be more involved this season.
Gooch showed his undoubted quality at times during the most recent season, and could again be a key member of the squad as Sunderland target promotion.
After his successful loan spell at Blackpool last season, it could be a big year for Embleton on Wearside - although rumours have suggested that the Seasiders are keen on a permanent move for the academy graduate.
Former Chelsea defender Kane has been linked with a move to Wearside, having fallen down the pecking order at current club QPR. He could offer some much needed versatility in the backline.
Stewart's impressive display against Lincoln City still lingers in the memory and, if he can replicate that level of showing, he will be a key man for Sunderland this year.