Gus Poyet
Gus Poyet has to rebuild his Sunderland team for the Premier League

After being close to the drop in two consecutive seasons, Sunderland needs wholesale changes over the summer to avoid another relegation battle.

Nevertheless, it all depends on whether Gus Poyet will continue at the Black Cats – as he has emerged as one of the main candidates to fill Mauricio Pochettino's vacant seat at Southampton.

Poyet led Sunderland to the Capital One Cup final and masterminded their escape from relegation last season after replacing Paolo Di Canio, who was sacked with the Black Cats bottom of the table.

Business so far

Sunderland has signed defender Billy Jones from West Bromwich while they have released centre-back Carlos Cuellar, left-back Andrea Dossena and goalkeepers Oscar Ustari and Keiren Westwood. Furthemore, Craig Gardner and Phil Bardsley have signed for West Brom and Stoke City as free agents.

What they need

Sunderland need a consistent number nine to partner Connor Wickham up front as well as keeping Fabio Borini in the squad for at least one more season.

Poyet is also keen on acquiring a goalkeeper while securing Fiorentina left-back Marcos Alonso on permanent basis will also be imperative.

At the same time the manager wants versatile Santiago Vergini to stay after joining on loan last January while the club also need a creative midfielder to replace Swansea's Ki Sung-Yueng.

Who could join

Borini looks ready to start the pre-season at Liverpool but Poyet still hopes to have him at Sunderland for another season.

They have also been linked with a couple of number nines such as Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis while Poyet is monitoring goalkeepers Costel Pantilimon, out of contract at Manchester City, and Crystal Palace's Julian Speroni.

Meanwhile, Alfred N'Diaye may come back after a successful loan spell at Betis.

Who might leave

Should Sunderland sign a striker Jozy Altidore and Danny Graham may leave while River Plate are keen on bringing back to Argentina January signing Ignacio Scocco.

Seb Larsson and Jack Colback are out of contract at the Stadium of Light this summer and their future remains up in the air while Modibo Diakite may be included as part of Alonso's deal with Fiorentina.

What the manager has said

"In any squad, if we play 4-3-3 - my system - I like to have three goalkeepers and seven defenders, not eight."

"I want two players for (each) place in the other positions, but not at the back - I like to use that extra player somewhere else, so you can have a squad of 23.