Sunderland have returned to training ahead of the new English Premier League season with no fewer than nine new faces at the club.
Having seen his squad beset with injuries over the last campaign, manager Steve Bruce has been busy in the transfer market and has added plenty of experience to squad.
Former Manchester United duo Wes Brown and John O’Shea have joined in defence, while midfield has been bolstered by the arrival of Birmingham City duo Sebastian Larsson and Craig Gardner.
Highly rated striker Connor Wickham, 18, joins from Ipswich Town for a fee that could rise to 12 million pounds, while goalkeeper Kieron Westwood (Coventry) and David Vaughan (Blackpool) arrive on free transfers.
“It’s nice to see that the club’s been able to attract players like O’Shea and Brown – big players who’ve been at a big club for a long time,” Larsson told the BBC.
“I think it’s a sign that the club’s trying to move in the right direction.”
Sweden international Larsson signed for the Black Cats after the expiry of his contract at Birmingham, who were relegated to the Championship in the same season they won the League Cup.
The right-sided midfielder said he was keenly anticipating playing alongside Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan, and wanted to play his part in helping Sunderland improve on their 10th place in 2010/11.
“I’m not saying that we’re going to be playing Champions League football next season but you’ve got to always keep trying to move in the right direction, step-by-step,” he said.
“Hopefully, that’s what the club’s doing right now.”