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Roker Roundtable: Where should Sunderland spend the majority of their budget strengthening?

Our writers give their opinions on where they think Jack Ross should splash the cash in our search for success. Do you agree with their assessments?

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Gav - Buy a proper captain!

With John O’Shea and a raft of other ‘experienced’ players moving on this summer it’s imperative that we strengthen all over the park, but in my opinion signing a proper captain is probably the most important thing we need to do this summer.

An attitude change is needed at Sunderland, and one of the most important things we can do to ensure that a winning mentality is adopted from the day pre-season training starts is for Jack Ross to have his own captain installed and in place.

Not that captains have to be expensive players, but I think that a real statement signing is needed - and it’s crucial that faith is placed in them immediately in order to turn around the negativity that has swamped our playing squad for far too long now.

Someone not afraid of playing League One football; someone that will kick arses and ensure that our effort levels and the standard of conduct rises considerably.

We won’t have tonnes to spend this summer, but we have to make sure that much of that money goes on signing the man that will become a talisman for the side going forward over the next few years at least.

Sunderland v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images,

Jake - We need a bagsman!

Goalscorers don’t come cheap, but most sides who seem to do well at any level have that one talisman up top who’ll dig them out of tough situations - and League One will be full of those.

We had a natural goalscorer for the first part of last season in the form of opinion-dividing Lewis Grabban, and the season before that we were blessed with the finishing of Jermain Defoe. But after Grabban left, goals were hard to come by and ultimately contributed to our downfall.

While it is evident that both Joel Asoro and Josh Maja have some raw talent, neither’s future has been confirmed yet, with a mass exodus of the playing squad looking more and more likely. And even if they do stay for at least next season, it would be difficult to pin such high hopes on two guys whose combined age is just one year above that of our former skipper John O’Shea. That doesn’t really scream experience.

Having an experienced man up top would very much help settle the nerves around the squad, with someone who has proved to be successful being our focal point of attack, therefore easing the pressure on the likes of Maja and Asoro to grab a hatful of goals.

Fulham v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Damian - Defenders please!

Please, dear God, don’t let us start another season without a back line.

It’s no secret that Sunderland have been haemorrhaging goals almost since goals were invented, so when it comes to investing in fresh faces all I really want to see is a defence that don’t run around like headless chickens. The departure of O’Shea frees up a pivotal space on the team sheet that we can now fill with a competent centre half, and we really shouldn’t waste that opportunity.

For me, defence is the most important position on the pitch, with everything else coming in a close second. A club of this stature shouldn’t be getting drubbed in League One, but that’s what’ll happen if we don’t get some real talent guarding the ‘keeper.

It’s not just the centre halves though - bar the odd labour-intensive performance from our full backs in days gone by, the whole back line has often appeared to be skidding around on oil when it comes to keeping the ball out. We need a new everything.

Minimum of two full backs and two centre-halves please, all hardcore, rootin’ tootin’ badasses with pinpoint crossing accuracy and veracious aerial ability. I want attackers to fear getting closer than 40 yards.

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

Graham - Striker!

How many teams have been promoted from the Championship and League One in recent years simply because they had the best striker in the league? Clue - loads of them.

Although there was many other issues at hand last season with Sunderland, we really seemed to fall away completely when Lewis Grabban left because, for all his faults, he knew where the net was.

Two positions are essential for us this summer in all honesty, and that’s in the nets and up top. We lost far too many points due to goalkeeping errors last season and didn’t score nearly enough once Grabban went to Villa.

However, whilst I think we should be able to bring in a competent goalkeeper that hopefully won’t make basic mistakes, if we’re going to spend “big” money on any one position then it should go on a striker capable of hitting twenty plus goals - that is what will really set us apart from the rest of the league.

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