With the summer transfer window now open for English clubs, it will be intriguing to see what approach Sunderland decide to take in terms of their recruitment in the coming months.
Whilst Black Cats owner Kyril Louis-Dumfries may be tempted to splash the cash, the club could also potentially benefit from using the free-agent market to their advantage by drafting in some players who are capable of thriving in League One.
However, before manager Lee Johnson adds some fresh faces to his squad, he will have to prioritise resolving the future of forward Charlie Wyke in the coming weeks.
Despite being offered a new contract by Sunderland, the forward has yet to make a decision on whether he is willing to stay at the Stadium of Light.
With his current deal set to expire at the end of the month, Wyke will leave the club on a free transfer if Johnson cannot convince him to play a major role in his plans for the upcoming campaign.
A key player for Sunderland last season, the forward netted 30 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions whilst he also provided five assists for his team-mates.
As a result of his fantastic form, Wyke has attracted a great deal of interest from a host of clubs.
Sky Sports journalist Keith Downie revealed earlier this year that Nottingham Forest, Millwall, Cardiff City and Middlesbrough were all interested in the player whilst a separate report from Football Insider touted Ipswich Town as a possible suitor.
In a fresh update in this ongoing transfer saga, Celtic have now emerged as the front-runners for Wyke's signature.
According to the Northern Echo, the Scottish side are reportedly confident of securing the services of the 28-year-old after recently holding talks with him over a move.
Whilst it is understood that Celtic are ready to submit an offer to Wyke, Sunderland are willing to match their bid which means it will be down to the forward to decide his destination for the 2021/22 campaign.
GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...
This is unquestionably a blow for Sunderland as they may find it extremely difficult to prevent Wyke from joining Celtic who will be able to give him the chance to play in the Scottish Premiership.
As well as setting the third-tier alight with his goal-scoring escapades last season, Wyke rarely let his standards slip as he averaged the second-best WhoScored match rating at the Stadium of Light (7.35).
If Wyke does indeed join Celtic, Sunderland may have to spend a considerable amount of money to draft in a suitable replacement.
A failure to get their recruitment spot-on this summer could lead to a season of struggle for the Black Cats who will be desperate to secure a return to the Championship next year.
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