With Stewart Donald and Phil Parkinson no longer at Sunderland, the future looks increasingly bright for the Mackems.
Lee Johnson has guided his team to fourth in League One and alongside both Kristjaan Speakman and Kyril-Louis Dreyfus, positives are emerging on a regular basis.
Dreyfus has talked a good game since coming into the football club, stressing the need to improve matters at not only the neglected academy level, but also in the senior team.
Speakman has had a little more time to sink his teeth into matters at the Stadium of Light but a real barometer of his abilities will be in the summer when he oversees the transfer window.
One player the club may well consider is Jermain Defoe. Football Insider reported last week that the striker is set to leave Rangers behind this summer but that he doesn’t want to quit football.
As a result, Black Cats hero Kevin Phillips was quizzed about whether he’d like to see him back in the north-east.
“Defoe has been a magnificent player but I do not know if a return to the Stadium of Light would be right,” he told Football Insider.
“Defoe has been fantastic and was fantastic at Sunderland but I would look elsewhere. I would take a different approach because it has backfired in the past,” Phillips concluded.
However, we hold a different opinion. Sunderland have been down the route of signing older players; namely Danny Graham but Defoe is a class above and should be considered in a few months time.
The striker is now 38 but despite being in the final few years of his career, still knows where the back of the net is.
He’s played 12 times for the Gers this season and has found the back of the net on four occasions. Having won 57 caps for England, his experience is invaluable and could prove to be incredibly beneficial for some of the younger players coming through.
Johnson has already shown that he’s capable of extracting the most from older players. After all, Aiden McGeady has ten assists in 16 matches under the current regime.
He’s proven he can roll back the years and Defoe could well do the same if he returns to the Stadium of Light. Charlie Wyke is the club’s top scorer this term but Defoe is somewhat of an icon at Sunderland.
His charity work was admirable yet on the field of play, he was vital. David Moyes described him as a “predator” during his days as manager with the Mackems and it’s clear to see why; Defoe netted 37 strikes in 93 outings between 2015 and 2017.
Adding further competition to Wyke, no matter the level they play at next season will be huge. He’d be a very beneficial addition.