With the football season coming to an end either on or off the pitch it looks like Sunderland will still be playing their football in League One come September. The upcoming Summer transfer window looks like it could be a dull one with clubs not making any profit from match day revenue meaning a lot of transfers are going to be swap deals and smaller fees.
With that in mind, I have shortlisted seven signings that the Black Cats could make on a free or for a small fee. Trying to be as reasonable as possible when it comes to creating a League One winning side.
7. Kevin Stewart – Hull City – Defensive Midfielder
Starting things off with a good solid work horse, Stewart regularly plays as a defensive midfielder for the Tigers and has a decent average passing accuracy of 77% and an average of four tackles and two interceptions per game.
His contract at Hull expires this summer so a move for Stewart would sure up any gaps in the Sunderland midfield, with the 26-year-old being a versatile midfielder who is able to play defensively or in a central partnership.
6. Max Lowe – Derby – Left Back
Lowe has not got the most exciting stats but would be a fine addition to the Black Cats defence providing excellent competition for local lad Denver Hume. The former England under 20’s international has played 25 games this season at both left and right back when needed.
22-year-old Lowe has completed over 90 tackles this season, its not fancy but it is what defenders are there to do. He has one year left on his contract with Derby so Sunderland would need to cough up roughly £1 million for his services.
5. Niclas Eliasson – Bristol City – Left Winger
The Swedish 24-year-old is out of contract with his current club Bristol City at the end of June and the winger could provide some good competition for players like Lyndon Gooch and Duncan Watmore for a starting position.
Making 33 appearances for Bristol this season, Eliasson has got 12 assists, the joint most assists in the Championship this season and has bagged himself three goals as well. Although he may not score a lot, acquiring the young Swede would surely be good business. Eliasson’s current contract does include a one-year extension clause should Bristol want to keep him for another season.
4. Lyle Taylor – Charlton Athletic – Centre Forward
Taylor’s season has been plagued with injuries, firstly being side-lined for three months de to a knee problem and more recently a thigh injury which he suffered throughout January. However, injuries have not stopped the 30-year-old from scoring 11 goals in 22 games for the Addicks.
Taylor maybe getting old for a striker but has proven he can still bag the goals; the veteran’s contract is up at the end of June and many other Championship clubs have their eyes set on his signature. It would be an incredible steal if Sunderland could seal the deal.
3. Tim Ream – Fulham – Centre Back
Sunderland have conceded the second least amount of goals so far this season, so a centre back this high up the list may seem questionable to some. However, Ream’s signing would bring great forward passing and an experienced centre back to Wearside.
32-year-old Ream has one year left on his contract at Fulham and may see himself benched if the club gets promoted to the Premier League. The American has played all but two games this season and in exchange for first team football may be willing to move to League One. Ream currently has 90% passing accuracy, making a total of 2,300 accurate passes which is far more than any other Championship defender.
Ream could cost as little as £700,000 if he valued consistent first team football.
2. Cauley Woodrow – Barnsley FC – Centre Forward
Barnsley are currently at the bottom of the Championship with only nine games left to play. Woodrow has been a standout player for the Tykes with the striker scoring 14 goals in 31 games and averaging 3.8 shots per game, second only to Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic.
At the age of 25 Woodrow would easily walk into Sunderland’s current starting 11, he is far more prolific than Grigg and Wyke, providing the finishing ability needed from a centre forward.
At most he would cost the Black Cats £1.5 million and less if Barnsley do get relegated.
1. Matt Grimes – Swansea City – Centre Midfielder
The most expensive addition on this list but probably overall the best.
Grimes has been a rock in Swansea’s midfield this season, holding the highest number of successful tackles for a midfielder in the league with 110 and the only player in three-digit figures. The 24-year-old has also made 1,846 accurate passes so far this season and 152 accurate long balls.
Grimes would certainly be a solid addition to Sunderland’s midfield either right in front of the defence or as a more traditional centre midfielder, the issue here being the price tag, Grimes would cost Sunderland around £4 million if not more to lure him away from his current club who are 11th in the Championship but it would be a huge acquisition for the season ahead.