This left Kristjaan Speakman scrambling around to find a replacement for him and he swooped to snap up the experienced Tony Mowbray, after he left Blackburn Rovers at the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
The 58-year-old arrived on Wearside at the tail end of the transfer window and this meant that he was unable to have a major say in how the squad was shaped in the summer.
Sunderland allowed a number of players to leave the club ahead of 2022/23 and one of the faces they released was 36-year-old Irishman Aiden McGeady, who was signed by Simon Grayson back in 2017.
The winger’s time in England came to an end as he moved to Hibernian but imagine what he could have achieved under the ex-Rovers coach if he had played for him in the pomp of his Black Cats career.
McGeady would be ideal in a wide or attacking midfield position in a 4-3-3, 3-4-2-1, or a 4-4-2 as that is where he has played for the majority of his career.
Unfortunately, the attacker only played in the Championship for one season during his spell on Wearside and he racked up seven goals and five assists in 35 outings, creating 11 ‘big chances’ for his teammates and making 1.6 key passes per match in 2017/18.
In his last two third-tier campaigns with Sunderland, McGeady created 2.4 chances or more per game and this shows that he had the quality to regularly deliver opportunities for his teammates to score.
Ben Brereton Diaz is one player who benefited from Mowbray’s coaching as he plundered 22 goals and set up three in 34 starts for Blackburn last season, which suggests that the manager can get the best out of his attacking players.
Now, imagine him playing in one of the ex-Rovers boss’ attack-minded formations in the Championship whilst he was in the prime of his Black Cats career.
He would have thrived under Mowbray and made a huge impact in the final third at that level with his ability to score and assist goals. Unfortunately, he had to play in League One instead, as the club spent four years below the second tier.