The Black Cats secured promotion via the play-offs and will now be looking to ensure that they do not head straight back down to League One at the first time of asking.
Alex Neil and Kristjaan Speakman will be plotting moves to improve the squad and one player who has been linked with a switch to the Stadium of Light is Josh Murphy.
Journalist Darren Witcoop Tweeted: “Sunderland have registered their interest in signing winger Josh Murphy, who is available on a free. Alex Neil worked with Murphy at Norwich and is a big fan. Interest in Wolves defender Dion Sanderson and keeper John Ruddy as reported elsewhere remains.”
By securing a deal to sign the attacker in the coming weeks, Speakman can land the club’s new Aiden McGeady out on the left wing.
Like the Irishman, Murphy is a tricky left winger who likes to cut inside onto his right foot and is adept at creating chances for his teammates.
Former Cardiff boss Neil Warnock once tipped Murphy to become an “instrumental” player and that is exactly what he can be for the Black Cats in the second tier.
In his last two Championship campaigns for Norwich – one of which came under Neil – he provided 12 ‘big chances’ in 43 starts. He also scored 11 goals in that time as he showed that he has the quality to make a big impact at that level.
Whilst his chance creation numbers are not as high as McGeady’s, the attacker was playing at a higher level than the former Celtic man and has the relevant experience needed to shine in the second tier.
The winger has struggled for form of late, with no starts, goals, or assists for Preston last term, but his relationship with the Sunderland coach can spark his career back to life.
Neil clearly knows how to get the best out of the £25k-per-week wizard, given his form under the Scot for Norwich, and that is why he can be the club’s new McGeady next season as he can be the go-to creator from out wide.