Sunderland are targeting swoops for three free agents as Jack Ross looks to strengthen his squad, but who might they be?
Speaking on the Roker Report podcast, owner Stewart Donald confirmed that the club are keen on deals for an out of contract trio.
Ross is still keen to add fresh faces to his Sunderland squad ahead of a rigorous League One campaign - but which free agents could the Scot be targeting?
We’ve picked out SIX players that may fit the bill for the Black Cats:
Most recent club: Celtic
Pros: Ciftci is someone who will be well-known to Ross having been a prolific scorer north of the border. His 25 goals in 68 appearances at Dundee United represented a fine return for the Turkish striker, who became renowned for his pace, trickey and lethal finishing. A pest in and around the area - and capable of playing out wide if required - he could be a big threat in League One.
Cons: Ciftci’s time at Celtic was marred by accusations of a bad attitude and, with Ross and Donald keen to bring in the right characters this summer, that might ring alarm bells. His previous experience in League One doesn’t inspire hope either, with a loan move to Plymouth last season failing to bring a single goal in eight appearances. His wage demands may also be higher than what Sunderland are prepared to pay.
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Position: Centre back
Most recent club: Bournemouth
Pros: A cultured, left-footed defender, Cargill’s style of play would marry up perfectly with the possession football that Ross is keen to instill at the Stadium of Light. He also has plenty of experience in League One thanks to loan spells at Coventry, Gillingham and Fleetwood, while he also enjoyed a successful temporary switch to Partick Thistle at the end of last season.
Cons: Cargill is expected to be in high demand this summer, with his fine performances north of the border last season attracting plenty of admirers. Any potential suitor will therefore have to battle off plenty of competition to land the 23-year-old.
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Position: Centre back
Most recent club: Derby County
Pros: With almost 500 career appearances to his name, Shackell would bring plenty of experience to what is a fairly young and inexperienced Sunderland squad. He spent last season on loan at Millwall from Derby County and showcased his ability in the second tier, while his on-field leadership abilities would undoubtedly prove influential over the course of the season. Tall, strong and good in the air, Shackell would be a true no-nonsense centre back.
Cons: Despite his vast experience in the game, the 34-year-old has never actually played in League One and that could well be a consideration. Wages could too be a stumbling block after his three-year deal at Pride Park came to an end.
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Position: Centre back
Most recent club: Nottingham Forest
Pros: Another vastly experienced player, Hobbs has spent most of his career in the Championship where has cultivated a reputation as an uncompromising and reliable centre back. Hobbs was also a part of the Leicester City side that won immediate promotion from League One in 2008/09 - showing that he knows what it takes to get out of the tough third tier.
Cons: Hobbs is currently on trial at Championship side Bolton Wanderers and is said to have impressed manager Phil Parkinson. If the Trotters were to offer him a deal, he may be tempted to take it.
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Most recent club: Everton
Pros: Quick, pacy and a fine finisher, Henen has some of the key attributes lacking in Sunderland’s side at the moment. The striker has a fine pedigree too, with previous spells at Anderlecht and Everton and time in the Belgian youth squads giving him a good upbringing. He’s raw, but could well be worth a punt.
Cons: It’s that raw ability that could prove a concern. Henen is far from proven and, although he has played in League One before, he could only find the net once during a loan spell at Fleetwood. He would be a gamble, but it could prove to be a calculated one.
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Most recent club: Manchester United
Pros: An attack-minded midfielder, the 21-year-old progressed through the ranks at Old Trafford and impressed in their under-23 and under-18 set-ups. His technical ability makes him a fine asset in the centre of the park, while his height and physicality are also added advantages - especially given the occasional rough and tumble nature of League One. He has previously played in the third tier too, spending time on loan at Scunthorpe last season.
Cons: Similarly to Henen, Redmond may well be a gamble and could prove to be more of a project than a ready-made Sunderland starter. He has all the assets, but whether he could consistently perform in the first team would be up for debate.