Alex Neil replaced Lee Johnson at the helm earlier this year and hit the ground running on Wearside as he led the team to glory via the play-offs.
Kristjaan Speakman and the Scottish boss will now be looking to shape the Black Cats squad in the coming weeks, with outgoings and incomings potentially taking place ahead of the 2022/23 season.
One player who may be on his way out of the club is versatile American gem Lynden Gooch. The 26-year-old is out of contract at the end of the month and is reportedly attracting interest from fellow Championship side Swansea.
Gooch played in a multitude of roles for Neil and Johnson throughout the 2021/22 campaign, featuring out wide, in central midfield and at wing-back in League One. He was able to fill in wherever he was needed and this made him a reliable option for the head coach to call upon.
However, the consistency in his performances was not always there as he averaged a solid, albeit unimpressive, SofaScore rating of 6.77 in the third tier. The dynamo failed to score a single goal but did provide six assists as he played 41 times in the league.
Whilst losing him may be a concern at this moment in time, Speakman can allay any fears that Gooch’s exit will be a blow by signing free agent Robbie Brady.
He spent the second half of last season at Bournemouth and is now set to be available on a free. Sunderland are one of the teams reportedly keen on the Irishman and he can be a big upgrade on the American heading into the 2022/23 campaign.
The £33k-per-week wizard was recently dubbed “fantastic” by Swansea boss Russell Martin and he showed glimpses of what he is capable of with an average SofaScore rating of 7.03 in six matches for the Cherries.
He has previously shown that he can be a valuable asset at Championship level and has already worked with Neil at Norwich. In the 2016/17 campaign, he averaged a score of 7.11 as he managed four goals and four assists in 22 matches for the Canaries.
The gem is capable of playing at left-back, on either wing – as a winger or wing-back – and has played in central midfield during his career.
This shows that he is as versatile as Gooch whilst also having a history of performing to a higher standard in the league above the one the American gem played in last season. Therefore, Sunderland must sign Brady as he can be a big upgrade on the 26-year-old.