Martin Keown has told the Daily Mail that Sunderland struggle because of their lack of strategy in the transfer window.
The former Arsenal defender believes that Sunderland's tendency to leave themselves short of quality in recent years has seriously hampered their progress, and he is adamant that they need to devise a new approach.
Keown believes that the Black Cats' squad needs an injection of youth and thinks that is the only way the club will be able to move forward.
"I think more than that it’s the calibre of their players," he responded, when asked why Sunderland struggle in his weekly TackleKeown session. "There’s not too many in that squad where you would look and think ‘I’d love him in my team.'
"There has to be some major surgery in that squad. When Wes Brown and John O’Shea move on there will be a big hole in the defence and it’s the same with Lee Cattermole and Sebastian Larsson in midfield.
"There’s no real consistency up front and Jermain Defoe, who is probably their shining light right now, is not the player he once was. But it’s not about the strength of individuals, it’s about the strength of the group.
"They need young, exciting players. Of course chopping and changing managers does not help but at the moment it’s the players who need to improve."
Sunderland do have an ageing squad and a full-scale revamp is likely to be required over the summer, as the club look to break out of their current slump.
The Black Cats seem to be perennial relegation strugglers and there are still concerns over whether they will retain their Premier League status.
Sunderland are currently hovering just above the drop-zone, but they are stumbling rather than surging towards the line and unless they start to steady themselves they could be overtaken.
There are a number of teams starting to show signs of form and unless Sunderland can secure another couple of victories they are in serious danger of being a Championship side next season.