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Bosman Market Could Be Slim Pickings For Sunderland

Could Owen lineup in the red and white of Sunderland next season?
Could Owen lineup in the red and white of Sunderland next season?

As the transfer season kicks into life, there's been plenty of talk of big money moves for the likes of Steven Fletcher, or other more ridiculous suggestions such as Fernando Llorente. Since then talk has turned towards players who's contract is up, or virtually up and could be available for nothing.

With Financial Fair Play and all that afoot, there's every chance we're going to be looking at some players on the cheaper end of the scale, and why not when we've had relative success with the likes of Seb Larsson and to a degree, David Vaughan.

With this in mind, here's a look at some Bosman moves, none of which drastically unrealistic, that could improve our squad overall...

O'Neill said recently that we're potentially looking at one or two Bosman moves, but conceded that if we do, we'll have to be quick out the blocks to get the best of them.

We also know that O'Neill isn't the type to shop particularly exotically, so forget about that cheap youngster from the Kazakhstan 2nd division who's got 120 potential on Football Manager. It's not going to happen. Most signings this summer are likely to be known quantities.

We're not stupid enough to think that notable freebies such as Didier Drogba or Andrey Arshavin are set to rock up in red and white next season, but there's an intriguing list of players in the second tier which could make for valuable additions.

Goalkeeping wise, we're pretty sorted so there's not much point in looking there. Simon Mignolet will be the number one, with Keiren Westwood attempting to oust him. Behind them there could be a cheap journeyman, or we hope Jordan Pickford has developed further after a recent loan to Darlington. An option could be Peterborough goalkeeper Joe Lewis, but at 24 years old he's likely to want first team football rather than be a third wheel.

Left back is a position of need, and should we not pursue Wayne Bridge, who himself is set to be released by Manchester City, then there's a couple of intriguing options. One of which is Wigan Athletic defender Maynor Figueroa. A player often linked under Steve Bruce, the Honduran is now our of contract and could be on the move. Especially if Roberto Martinez leaves causing more upheaval.

Another option at the position could be Rangers defender Sasa Papac. Papac recently announced he's leaving the cash-strapped club now his contract has ended, and would represent a relatively cheap punt, wage wise, for us to cover for Kieran Richardson.

The right back market is a little slim, however Carlos Cuellar from Aston Villa might represent some decent cover across the entire back four, but all things considered, it's not a huge position of need since Phil Bardsley, John O'Shea and Craig Gardner can all cover. In an absolute stretch you've also got Sebastian Larsson.

There's some more intriguing players in the middle of defence though. Admittedly not a position of incredible need, but a player like Joseph Yobo, might represent the right mix of age, price and Premier League experience for Marty to make a move.

On the left-hand side of midfield the market is rather bare, meaning we'll probably have to splash some cash if we want to provide cover and competition for James McClean, and it's a similar story for the right-hand side too, but someone like Vladimir Weiss would be a handy ad cheap addition to cover both sides, currently out-of-contract at Manchester City having spent last season on loan at Espanyol.

In the middle of the park, again we're not exactly short of numbers, so it would mean quality over quantity. Sadly the market for midfielders is all players no better than what we have, or way out of our league such as Mathieu Flamini, Michael Ballack, Alberto Aquilani and Alan Dzagoev to name but a few. Such moves would be very welcome, however more than likely only in your dreams.

Now then, strikers. We certainly need some of those. Names which could be on our radar include Wigan forward Hugo Rodallega, although personally I'd like us to look elsewhere. Junior Hoilett is a popular link to us, and although out of contract would require compensation for being under 23. Away from those two it's pretty slim pickings. The only two of note, that seem to fit the bill are those who would massively divide opinion in different ways... Michael Owen and Ivan Klasnic. Intriguing options, useful subs, but likely expensive ones (wage wise) given we need someone a bit more proven.

Overall there certainly are 3 to 4 good quality players available on Bosman's, but we'll have to fight hard to get the very top ones as O'Neill says. Players like Weiss, Figueroa and Yobo seem more likely options as the overall quality of the squad is gradually improved.

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