So after travelling thousands of miles around the world and six pre-season friendlies later, just how ready are Sunderland for the start of the Premier League season?
The new season opens against Leicester, and at this stage, I feel there are more questions than answers.
Even if it is only pre-season, three defeats out of five isn’t a healthy sign.
Sure, the signing of Jeremain Lens injects much-needed pace into the side, but where are the goals going to come from?
Sunderland only scored 31 goals in the Premier League last season, and there is still no solution to that problem.
Can Jermain Defoe really be relied on? After all, he has only netted four times since joining in January.
By signing Adam Matthews, Younes Kaboul and getting Sebastian Coates on a permanent deal, I believe Dick Advocaat is doing a good job of bolstering the defensive line.
But with the greatest respect, Wes Brown and John O’Shea were less than convincing last season, and Sunderland need to start looking towards the future.
Speaking of which, Duncan Watmore deserves an opportunity to break into the first team, and he could help answer the goalscoring conundrum.
While playing for the Sunderland U21 team last year, Watmore scored 11 goals in 18 appearances – which helped him win the Barclays Under 21 Premier League Player of the Year.
Undoubtedly the 21-year-old has a great deal of talent, but he just needs the platform to show it.