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Any progress on these transfers? A striker, midfielder & keeper in would lift Sunderland spirits

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The exit of Vito Mannone has only heightened attention on the glaring gaps in the core of the Sunderland side right now. A goalkeeper and a striker are now urgent necessities, though reinforcements at centre-half, full-back and in midfield would also be nice.

Sunderland v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Some heightened concern has been aired in recent days at the size of the rebuilding job still to be completed at Sunderland with the season starting in a little over a fortnight - particularly after consecutive underwhelming displays in friendly games this last week.

But three 'decent' names continue to be linked with a move to the Stadium of Light and their arrival would lift spirits amongst a Wearside faithful moderately alarmed by some of the other players being suggested as Grayson targets.

A midfielder, striker and goalkeeper would plug some gaps in the Black Cats squad - particularly the latter two spots after the departure of Vito Mannone was confirmed yesterday following the earlier exit of stopper Jordan Pickford and the long-anticipated escapes of Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe from relegated Sunderland.

Hibernian v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
Simon Grayson’s phone must be busy at the minute
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

This trio of names may not instantly set hearts racing but on second glance, signing Norwich City’s experienced target man Cameron Jerome, Brentford’s midfield utility player Ryan Woods and Queens Park Rangers ‘keeper Alex Smithies would be a welcome boost.

That threesome look all the more appealing however when you consider the other names said to be on Simon Grayson’s radar. Leeds’ goalie Rob Green is unlikely to be at the top any Sunderland fan’s wishlist and a return to the Stadium of Light for Newcastle’s Daryl Murphy has set alarm bells ringing in some Mackem quarters.

Smithies is a very good goalkeeper at second-tier level and remains highly thought of at QPR.

Whether the West London club would entertain letting him move to a Championship rival remains to be seen, though boss Ian Holloway has indicated he must sell before he can buy this summer.

Hull City v Huddersfield Town - Sky Bet Championship
Alex Smithies
Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

The 27-year-old is well known to Sunderland boss Grayson as the pair worked together at Huddersfield Town. Smithies also dislodged Rob Green as Rangers’ number one midway through 2015-16, so he must be better than the Leeds veteran, right?

Meanwhile, Sunderland are also said to be still keen on Brentford midfielder Ryan Woods. Not that this particular pursuit appears to have really gotten anywhere so far.

Brentford v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship
Ryan Woods (R)
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The 23-year-old defensive midfielder has been linked with the Black Cats for a little while but as at the start of the week, reports suggested the Bees had yet to receive an offer for the player who can also feature at full-back.

Finally, Sunderland and Nottingham Forest are the two clubs said to be keen on a move for Norwich striker Cameron Jerome. The Sun reported yesterday that both sides have identified the 30-year-old as the man to lead the line in the Championship campaign to come.

Norwich City v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship
Cameron Jerome playing for Norwich earlier this year
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

The Canaries hitman is thought to be available for £6m which would likely make him the Black Cats ‘marquee signing’ of the summer and after a few disappointing seasons in struggling sides, Jerome returned to form last term with 16 league goals for Norwich.

That fee may yet prove problematic for a Sunderland manager who appears to have very little cash to lay out without selling further players first. Bouyed by the money from the sale of Britt Assombalonga to Middlesbrough, Forest may yet win this battle.