In my opinion, strengthening our pool of goalkeepers has to be the number one priority in the summer transfer window - most Sunderland fans, like me, will feel that our failure to adequately replace Jordan Pickford and Vito Mannone was a huge reason behind why we ended up being relegated last season.
One man that has lit up League One this season is Manchester United youngster Dean Henderson - a goalkeeper that most certainly has a bright future ahead of him in the game.
The 6ft3 stopper has experienced a fantastic season with Shrewsbury Town, making 38 appearances and keeping 16 clean sheets, and just missed out on promotion after the Shrews lost to Rotherham United at the weekend in the League One play-off final.
Having had such a good season, Henderson made his England U21 debut back in March against Romania, and undoubtedly has a promising future ahead of him.
Henderson will return to his parent club in the summer but will most definitely be available again as United either look to build his experience through playing regular football or - as is the case with many of their young players - he’s simply allowed to move on.
Make no mistake, Sunderland are going to be a huge draw at this level, and the prospect of playing regular football in front of over 30,000 fans next season will be incredibly attractive to the likes of Henderson - young players looking to prove themselves at a big club.
Transfermarkt.co.uk Estimated Value: £225,000
England U20 international Ezri Konza has been linked with Premier League clubs in the past, and after having a very good season with Charlton Athletic there will most certainly be interest in the 20-year-old centre back during the summer from clubs higher up the food chain.
He only made his professional debut in 2016, but has since gone on to make 71 appearances for Charlton and has established himself as a mainstay in a side who just missed out on promotion through the play-offs.
Konsa has a very good understanding of League One, which is exactly what we need, as well as an abundance physicality and pace - attributes that have been sorely lacking right throughout Sunderland’s squad for far longer than any of us care to remember.
Transfermarkt.co.uk Estimated Value: £450,000
A pacey forward who can play on both wings as well as up top, Conor Chaplin has made 104 appearances for Portsmouth - scoring 22 goals - and is the type of player who would undoubtedly excite the Wearside faithful with his blistering pace and never-say-die attitude.
Chaplin is still just 21 years of age and has plenty experience in the lower leagues of English football already - he’s racked up over 100 appearances for Pompey, and is used to playing in front of a large and passionate fan base.
It’s entirely likely that we’ll need three new forwards this summer, and ensuring that we sign players that can each offer something different to the role they’re vying to fill is just as important as making sure we get value for money. It’s vitally important that Jack Ross recruits players that have the capability to improve under his tutelage, and Chaplin most certain falls into that category.
Transfermarkt.co.uk Estimated Value: £180,000
Aaron McEneff - who is a native of Derry - had his potential spotted at an early age as he spent two years in Tottenham Hotspur’s academy playing alongside Harry Kane, but after ending up released in 2015 he was quickly snapped up by his home-town club - and hasn’t really looked back.
The 22-year old has scored 23 goals in 80 appearances from midfield, and last year became the subject of a tussle between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland as the two nations battle it out to convince the youngster that his international future belonged with them.
In previous years Sunderland have signed some decent players with untapped potential from the Irish Leagues, and the drop down to the third tier now affords us with the opportunity to completely re-think our recruitment strategy and look at markets we’ve not explored for a while in order to uncover players with potential that wouldn’t cost a fortune.
This one might be viewed as a bit of a wildcard, but McEneff is undoubtedly the most gifted player in Derry City’s team and has been long tipped for a move back across the Irish Sea in order to test himself in the Football League.
Transfermarkt.co.uk Estimated Value: £130,000
I’m sure Charlton fans won’t be too happy with me mentioning both of their first choice central defenders, but on the back of what has been a fairly successful season I’m sure that they won’t be shocked to see significant interest in their best players during the summer.
Signed from Portugese side Maritimo in 2015, Bauer has gone on to make 89 appearances for Charlton, scoring 8 goals on the way, and at the age of 25 he has more than enough experience and potential to make him a serious option for Sunderland this summer.
It’s imperative that we add physicality and height to our squad ahead of next season, particularly in defence. We’ve been sorely lacking players that can be a threat in both boxes and Bauer most certainly gives you that - he’s been compared to Aiden Flint, and it’s easy to see why.
Transfermarkt.co.uk Estimated Value: £750,000