Sunderland struggled against relegation last season and produced a last-gasp great escape from the clutches of relegation.
Dick Advocaat, now permanent boss after his temporary role in the last campaign, has been busy in the transfer market and looks set to have a busy few days bringing in new additions to his squad.
The Black Cats have already completed the signings of Sebastian Coates, Younes Kaboul, Adam Matthews, Ricky Alvarez and Jeremain Lens. All six are likely to figure prominently in the new campaign.
It seems the Black Cats have not yet finished their business in the transfer window. Dutch international midfielder Leroy Fer was due to complete a season-long loan move from QPR, but he has reportedly failed his medical with the Black Cats.
He is not the only player being linked with a move to the north east though, as French midfielder Yann M’Vila and Belgian winger Adnan Januzaj are both also being linked with loan moves to the Black Cats by Sky Sports.
French international defensive midfielder M’Vila is currently plying his trade in the Russian top-flight, but is believed to be in talks over a season-long loan move to the Stadium of Light. M’Vila spent last season on-loan in Serie A with Inter.
The 25-year-old was touted as a possible star of the future earlier in his career, but has failed to live-up to his potential so far. M’Vila was being linked with a number of Europe’s top clubs prior to making a surprise £10million move to Rubin from Ligue One Rennes.
His attitude has been questioned in the past and he has been involved in a number of controversial incidents. He made his international debut for France in 2010, but in 2012 was given a two-year ban from the national team following an incident while he was on international duty with the under-21 team.
He has not played for Les Bleus since that incident despite being so highly-rated by many in his homeland and throughout Europe.
Januzaj is another player who is being linked with a temporary switch to Sunderland. The Manchester United winger has struggled to build on a bright start to his Red Devils career and it remains to be seen if he is in Louis van Gaal’s plans for this season.
However, the youngster faces a tough challenge gaining a regular place for United, as he faces tough competition from Juan Mata, Ashley Young, Memphis Depay and Ashley Young for a starting place at Old Trafford.
Despite his struggles to gain first team football at United he is still highly-regarded throughout European football. The Belgium international winger still has time on his side, as he is still just 20 years-old. He is versatile and holds immense promise.
Maybe a loan spell to gain some first team experience is exactly what the winger needs. He is not going to learn much playing for the United development team. A temporary move to the north east could be a good move for the youngster and for both clubs involved.
The Black Cats have added players to their squad, but their fans will no doubt be hoping that they can further strengthen their squad this summer. Advocaat’s team are currently odds of 15/8 to be relegated, with only the three newly-promoted clubs shorter odds for the drop.
The experienced Dutch boss Advocaat will know the task ahead and no doubt the Black Cats will make a quicker start to this season than last. The wily boss looks to have enough managerial experience and acumen to prevent Sunderland fans from having to go through the annual relegation dogfight.
However, unless the Black Cats strengthen their squad then they could still struggle in the bottom half of the table this season and that is probably why Advocaat is making a last minute dash to the sales.
Can Sunderland avoid a relegation fight this season?