Sunderland should be looking at the free agent market this summer, as there is plenty of quality on offer in the key areas they need to strengthen.
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce will want to add quality and quantity to his squad this summer
Sunderland narrowly avoided relegation last term and will want to strengthen their squad throughout the summer to avoid a repeat of last year's struggles.
There are certain key areas where the Black Cats require reinforcements. They are too heavily reliant on Jermaine Defoe to score their goals, and with the exits of Steven Fletcher and Danny Graham, it could be argued that they need two attacking players to ensure they go into the new season well stocked in forward areas.
Manager Sam Allardyce will surely be looking to add a holding midfielder to his squad over the summer too. Lee Cattermole performs an admirable job for the North East club, but his aggressive nature means he misses a lot of games through suspension. They also have Jan Kirchhoff who can play in that area, but an experienced extra body would be extremely useful, with the Premier League's intense nature lending itself to injuries and exhaustion to even the fittest of players.
Here are three free agents that Sunderland could snap up, and in turn, greatly improve their squad:
Mathieu Flamini, 32:
Mathieu Flamini was a bit-part player for Arsenal last term, and is now available on a free transfer
The ex-Arsenal man is available on a free transfer following his release from the Emirates Stadium and he would be the ideal signing for the Black Cats.
He would bring levels of experience to the side that they are severely lacking, and would be able to provide sufficient cover for Cattermole and Kirchhoff in the middle of the park.
He is still capable of performing at the highest level and would be an excellent short-term signing for the Wearside club as they look to establish themselves as a Premier League side.
Dani Osvaldo, 30:
Dani Osvaldo's attitude is questionable, but could Big Sam bring out the best in him?
The former Roma and Southampton man is a slightly controversial name on the list, although there is no denying his ability.
Big Sam is exactly the man who could coax the best out of the enigmatic Italian. If he could finally channel all his energy into playing football, he could reach the potential that so many expected of him in his younger days.
On a free transfer he is worth the risk and he could strike up a fantastic partnership with Jermain Defoe.
Stephane Sessegnon, 32:
Stephane Sessegnon would add creativity and guile to the Sunderland attack
The Benin international spent two years at the Stadium of Light before being moved on to West Bromwich Albion. With his contract now expired at The Hawthorns, however, he is available on a free transfer, and would make a great addition to Allardyce's attacking options.
He has that bit of guile and football intelligence currently absent from the Sunderland side. He could pay just behind the lone striker or as part of a front two. His vision and creativity make him perfect fort he number 1-0 role just behind the striker, and he could be lethal when in combination with Defoe.
Although the three names mentioned are on the wrong side of 30, they still possess individual qualities that can help Sunderland finish far higher up the league than last season. Allardyce has always liked a bargain and should seriously consider making moves for these players.
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce