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A right-back and a goalkeeper said to be on Grayson's radar; with intriguing squad implications

Reports of Sunderland seeking a goalkeeper and a right-back throw up some interesting squad conundrums.

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

Reports in the last 24 hours have suggested Sunderland are close to landing former Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy and with the Black Cats also linked to ex-England stopper Rob Green during the week, it seems logical to presume the spot between the sticks is high on Simon Grayson's radar as this year's round of pre-season friendlies gets underway later on.

Bristol City v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship
Jazz hands - Rob Green
Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

There have also been claims Sunderland are presently scouring the market for a right-back, having taken a look at Derby County's Cyrus Christie. And having already landed a defender who can operate at full-back in Everton loanee Brendan Galloway, it appears there will be movement to come in Grayson's back-line which is currently being rebuilt.

Middlesbrough are supposed to have had a bid rejected this morning for Christie and whilst they will no doubt return with an improved offer, reports suggest there has been an unnamed team lurking to step in for the 24-year-old. Look further and there are hints to indicate that club may be Sunderland.

Republic of Ireland v Wales - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
Cyrus Christie with Gareth Bale following a World Cup Qualifier between Republic of Ireland and Wales in March
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

So what does all this mean for the Sunderland squad right now as transfer business slowly - and finally - gets underway at the Stadium of Light?

With the exit of Jordan Pickford, the Black Cats certainly require some additional cover in goal and that's before a potential sale of Italian 'keeper Vito Mannone is factored in.

So the links to Ruddy and Green make sense but may also indicate that Mannone is on his way. Not that either name mooted as a replacement or cover for the 28-year-old will set pulses racing.

Can do a job in the Championship' will be the flavour for most incomings this summer and whilst both veteran goalkeepers would arrive with flaws and risks, not to mention occasional career bouts littered with howlers, Sunderland could do worse than to have a John Ruddy or a Rob Green in the squad.

Norwich City v Sunderland - Premier League
John Ruddy assisting a crocked Fabio Borini in 2014
Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Mannone's future remains unclear and whilst it's a fair assumption that the departure of David Moyes and arrival of a new regime may have settled his mind to stopping on at the Stadium of Light, there's still a decent chance he'll be off.

Links to a return back to Italy and to English clubs like Watford and Villa have gone quiet but the transfer window is still young and Mannone will more than likely have options to consider yet. That said, he'll probably be in goal tonight against Bury in Sunderland's opening warm-up fixture of the summer.

As for a right-back, Cyrus Christie can possibly be considered an upgrade on Billy Jones and Donald Love. The 24-year-old has made 119 appearances for Derby since signing from Coventry City in 2014. Queens Park Rangers and Brighton were also linked with him earlier in the summer.

But like those 'keepers above, supporters would consider Christie as a jury's out signing awaiting proof of what he could do for Sunderland.

The Republic of Ireland international likes to get forward and takes a decent throw-in, which in itself would be an upgrade on the present Black Cats' options, and he has the best years of his career still ahead of him. But doubts remain over his performances in the second-tier and he lingers down the full-back pecking order at Pride Park.

And most assume Billy Jones will be able do something of a job in the second-tier next season after proving himself as a one good game in four player in the Premier League since joining Sunderland from West Brom in 2014.

As for Donald Love it appears to be still impossible to judge the potential of the ex-Manchester United youngster. A couple of promising games in the first team last season were laden with some dodgy performances in both the senior side and the Under-23s.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Premier League
Donald Love
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

A premise of hope that Grayson can get something extra out of Love - the player he hoped to sign for Preston last summer before Sunderland nabbed him - seems a fair assessment of the 22-year-old's prospects right now.

So some cover and competition for Jones at right-back looks necessary. Javier Manquillo is up for sale - after his season on loan at Sunderland made up Diego Simeone's mind to sell him from Atletico Madrid - anyone fancy him back?

Further, Galloway's arrival will cast doubt over the left-backs presently at the club, namely Bryan Oviedo, Adam Matthews and Tommy Robson.

One will probably go with Oviedo hinting he will be off if he can wangle a Premier League move, Matthews having done nothing to demonstrate he's worth keeping - even after loan spells with Bristol City - and Robson still with it all to prove to make the step-up from the Under-23s after just completing a successful stint at Limerick

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