It looks certain to be a hectic summer at the Stadium of Light this summer, with Phil Bardsley, Jack Colback, Seb Larsson, Craig Gardner, Carlos Cuellar, Oscar Ustari, Keiren Westwood and Andrea Dossena's contracts expiring in the near future, Ki Sung-Yueng, Fabio Borini, Santiago Vergini, Marcos Alonso and Ondrej Celustka's loan spells expiring and youngsters John Egan, Louis Laing, Billy Knott, Adam Mitchell, Jordan Laidler and Alejandro Gorrin all set to be released, it looks as if new Sporting Director Lee Congerton will have his work cut out getting in new arrivals for both the first team and development squad, as well as trying to convince Colback, Larsson and Bardsley to remain at the club.
Unsurprisingly, with so many players set to leave the club, there has already been a steady players linked to Sunderland to add to our first list of the summer window:
Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace)
Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik (Stade Rennais)
Santiago Vergini (Estudiantes)
Marcos Alonso (Fiorentina)
Caner Erkin (Fenerbache)
Gordan Bunoza (Wisla Krakow)
Will Buckley (Brighton)
Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa)
Raul Meireles (Fenerbache)
Matt Grimes (Exeter)
Josh McEachran (Chelsea)
Diego Capel (Sporting Lisbon)
Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff)
Fabio Borini (Liverpool)
Quite a mixture of players there, at least one from almost every position on the pitch and a mix of English and foreign based players.
We will start with the three players on that list who were recently on-loan at Sunderland, namely Vergini, Borini and Alonso. It seems likely that Vergini will become a Sunderland player on a permanent basis in the near future and the club are reportedly confident of including Modibo Diakite in a proposed swap deal with Fiorentina for Alonso, with both players seemingly keen to remain at their prospective loan clubs.
Borini will be an altogether more difficult deal to complete. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has spoken of his desire to see the Italian striker add to the quality at the Premier League runners up, however there have been numerous reports that say Borini will be one of many players that Liverpool will listen to offers for as they look to improve their team ahead of their involvement in next season's Champions League. I think it's fair to say not to get your hopes up for the return of the popular Italian, should he even become available, we will have lots of competition for his signature.
Away from the loanees, we have been rumoured to be tracking foreign defensive trio, Kana-Biyik, Bunoza and Erkin. Kana-Biyik is a central defender, which will be a position that needs a lot of strengthening, even if Vergini completes his move. John O'Shea and Wes Brown aren't getting younger, as already mentioned Diakite may move to Fiorentina in a swap deal for Alonso, Cuellar has been released and Valentin Roberge ended the season completely out of favour. Whether the Cameroon international is a genuine target remains to be seen but with the player currently suspended by his club, he would almost certainly be available should Sunderland's interest be real.
Erkin and Bunoza are both left backs, with Erkin being by far the better of the two players. A highly rated Turkish international who is out of contract very soon, 25-year-old Erkin is expected to leave Fenerbache during the summer and would certainly add quality to Sunderland's left back position. It's believe the club were interested during the January transfer window and any renewed interest may depend on what happens with Alonso but it could be an interesting one to keep an eye on. Bunoza is also out of contract this summer and has been quoted saying he will leave Wisla Krakow for pastures new. Standing 6'5", he would certainly fit add extra height into our back line and could also add strength in depth behind Alonso or even Erkin.
We have once again been linked with Meireles, a player who is regularly linked with a move away from Fenerbache and particularly to the Stadium of Light. An experienced player who would certainly fit into Poyet's style of play, it's likely his wages could prove a stumbling block, as could the prospective fee for a 31-year-old. At the other end of the age spectrum, the club have also been credited with an interest in Matt Grimes of Exeter City, the 18-year-old was named Exeter's player of the season and would give a much needed boost to the development squad after so many players were released.
According to a report in Italy last month, Sunderland were in pole position to sign Spanish winger Diego Capel from Sporting Lisbon, should we stay up, now safety has been achieved we will have to wait and see whether anything comes from that link. Soon to be free agent Albrighton has been linked with a move from Villa, a move that would add some pace to the squad and with the player still only 24, could be a shrewd move that would, at the very least, boost the numbers of a very depleted squad.
Another winger linked with the club, and one we should expect to pop-up during every window until he either signs or Poyet leaves the club, is Brighton's Will Buckley. Sunderland had a bid rejected for the player in January and after they managed to sign his team-mate Liam Bridcutt, could return to the South Coast to try and poach a player he admired from his time in charge at The Amex.
In a move that seems very unlikely, we were also linked with a move for former fans' favourite Fraizer Campbell. Campbell would cost a reported £5m and considering we've already made a loss on the player, it seems doubtful that we would pay over £4m more than we sold him for just 18 months ago.
Finally, we have also been credited with an interest in Chelsea's Josh McEachran and Julian Speroni of Crystal Palace. McEachran is a player who could thrive in Poyet's style of play but his career has gone off the boil after some early promise and after failing to break into the Chelsea first team has had some underwhelming loan spells where he has struggled to make an impression. He is a player who is known well by Congerton after the Welshman's spell at Chelsea, so could be 'worth a punt' if Poyet believes he can help revive the player's flagging career. Speroni is another player out of contract in June and with Westwood and Ustari due to leave the club, could add competition to first choice Vito Mannone but Palace are believed to be hopeful of keeping the Argentinian at the South London club.
That's your lot for this week but expect the number of players linked to rise quite substantially over the coming months. The total for last year's summer transfer window topped the 100 mark and it will be surprising if the total for this year doesn't match that number.
Stay tuned to Roker Report throughout the summer as we keep you up to date with all the transfer news and rumours. Also, feel free to keep in touch with our dedicated Transfer Centre, which you can do by CLICKING HERE.