A new left winger is at the top of Sunderland’s shopping list for their summer recruitment drive.
Sunderland are looking to bring in up to half-a-dozen fresh faces during the transfer window to boost a squad that finished just three points above the relegation zone.
Sunderland are also in the market for two new central defenders.
Black Cats chairman Ellis Short has pledged to provide the funds necessary to bolster the squad and fulfil Dick Advocaat’s desire to land “quality not quantity” signings who will immediately improve the starting XI.
And it is understood that a left-sided forward is one of Sunderland’s main priorities after the Black Cats were unable to fill that void last summer.
Ex-head coach Gus Poyet’s mission to re-sign Fabio Borini from Liverpool ultimately ended in failure and it remained a problem position throughout the campaign.
Striker Connor Wickham was forced to play out wide for long periods, while Ricky Alvarez, Will Buckley and Jermain Defoe also found themselves out on the left.
But head coach Advocaat and sporting director Lee Congerton are determined not to fall into the same trap next season and have made that position one of their priorities over the next two-and-a-half months.
Sunderland are also in the market for two new central defenders, with Wes Brown in line to leave the Stadium of Light when his contract expires at the end of the month.
The Black Cats want to re-sign last season’s loanee Sebastian Coates on a permanent deal from Liverpool, while also landing a replacement for Brown.
Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk has been tracked by Sunderland for the last year to fill that void, although it is unlikely they will go as high as the £10million asking price the SPL champions have set for a player untested in the Premier League.
Sunderland are keen to boost their options in central midfield, albeit there are hopes that Emanuele Giaccherini can enjoy an injury-free season.
With Adam Johnson’s future also uncertain due to his ongoing legal problems, Sunderland may be in the market for a new right winger at the end of the transfer window.