Sunderland's 2020/21 League One campaign culminated in heartbreak as they suffered defeat at the hands of Lincoln City in the play-offs.
Whilst the Black Cats did manage to illustrate some real signs of promise under the guidance of manager Lee Johnson, they ultimately ran out of steam during the closing months of the season.
Having since dusted themselves down from his disappointment, Sunderland will now be determined to launch a push for automatic promotion later this year.
Although it is looking increasingly likely that they will need to find a replacement for Charlie Wyke, the Black Cats will still be able to call upon Aiden McGeady and Luke O'Nien who have both recently committed their futures to the club.
With Johnson unquestionably keen to put his own stamp on Sunderland's squad ahead of what will be his first full season in charge at the Stadium of Light, it will be intriguing to see what approach he will take in terms of transfer recruitment in the coming weeks.
Whereas the Sunderland boss will be tempted to splash the cash, he could also find it beneficial to look towards the free-agent market for inspiration.
One of the players who has recently been linked with a move to the Black Cats is full-back Eric Lichaj.
A report by The Sun journalist Alan Nixon earlier this week suggested that the American was being tracked by Sunderland ahead of a potential swoop.
In a fresh update concerning Lichaj's future, it has been revealed that the Black Cats are now set to step up this particular transfer pursuit.
According to Football Insider, the defender has been handed the opportunity to impress Johnson by joining the club on a trial basis.
By producing some promising displays during pre-season, Lichaj could secure a permanent move to Sunderland.
GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...
When you consider that Lichaj's has been without a club since leaving Turkish outfit Fatih Karagumrik earlier this year, it could be argued that it is a wise move by Johnson not to make a hasty call in regards to a swoop.
With Sunderland set to face York City and Harrogate Town later this month, Lichaj could potentially feature in these friendlies as he looks to earn a deal.
Whereas the 32-year-old will be confident in his ability to deliver the goods in a lower division having featured on 257 occasions in the Championship during his career, he will still need to prove that he is fit enough to cope with the demands of the third-tier.
Providing that Lichaj is able to win over Johnson's trust, there is no reason why he cannot go on to make a positive impact at the Stadium of Light next season.
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