Sunderland ended last season in fine form, beating Chelsea and Manchester United and taking a point off Manchester City to achieve Premier League survival when at one point they looked doomed.
Manager Gus Poyet worked a miracle to keep the club in the top flight, and he's been rewarded with a host of new signings this summer. Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones, Santiago Vergini, Sebastian Coates, Patrick van Aanholt, Jack Rodwell, Jordi Gomez, Will Buckley and Ricardo Alvarez have all arrived as Sunderland look to push towards the top ten.
The signing of Rodwell was a particular coup for the Black Cats, as the 23-year-old was once tipped for Premier League stardom before moving from Everton to Manchester City in 2012. Winger Buckley impressed in the Championship with Poyet's former club Brighton, and the Uruguayan boss has revealed how he tempted both players into joining the club.
"No doubt things are a little bit more clear with what I wanted to create and the players I wanted to bring," he said. "I was able to say to Jack Rodwell that I wanted him to join us because we're trying to do things in a certain way over the next six months to a year.
"Look at someone like Bucker [Will Buckley]. I know him and he knows me and what I want from him. He could play for another manager, no doubt, but he knows exactly what is going to happen here."
"Those things give you a bit of help in competing for players. We've been able to tell these players what we're hoping to achieve in the next two years."