ADAM JOHNSON is confident that the late arrivals during the final days of the transfer window will be able to settle in quickly at Sunderland.
The Black Cats made their biggest signing of the summer so far when they completed a £10million move for Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell yesterday, while there will be a further addition to the squad today with Santiago Vergini on the verge of re-signing on loan.
But Sunderland, who continue to track Fabio Borini, remain on the look-out for another three or four fresh faces, despite already bringing in four new players this summer.
With Sunderland also looking to offload the likes of Danny Graham, Alfred N’Diaye, Modibo Diakite, Cabral and David Moberg Karlsson, the make-up of Gus Poyet’s squad could have a very different look to it when the transfer window closes on Monday, September 1.
But with Sunderland now playing a settled pattern under Poyet, last season’s joint top scorer Johnson is not unduly worried by the need for further recruits.
Johnson told the Echo: “I think from now until the start of the season there will be a big change again - outgoings and ingoings I would imagine.
“But as long as we can keep the basics of what we want to do as a team, I don’t think we’ll have any problems.
“There’s been a lot of talk about different players. We’ll have to see who else arrives.
“But the players who are already here have fitted in quickly.
“I think to be honest, the only reason players don’t settle in too quickly is when they can’t speak the language.
“You’re a long way away from home and can’t understand what is going on.
“When you can speak English, it’s pretty simple these days.
“The banter is usually the same and everyone gets on.”
One advantage of the obvious holes in Sunderland’s squad, has been that those existing players on the books have had plenty of opportunity to spend time on the field during the club’s friendly programme.
That is a stark contrast to last season when Sunderland were clearly lacking match sharpness at the start of the Premier League campaign after playing just five friendlies.
Johnson said: “We’re getting a lot of minutes. We’ve got a couple of injuries and not loads and loads of players.
“But that’s probably been good for us in terms of getting more minutes under the belt.
“I think game fitness is massive. It’s the most important thing to get back to that match sharpness.
“To be fair, we’ve looked sharp in training and I thought in the second game in Portugal, we were very good.”
Johnson has been able to play a full part in the friendlies since returning from the injury which kept him out of the opening two warm-up outings against Darlington 1883 and Carlisle.
“I missed the Darlington one after I went over on my ankle doing our beach running,” added the 27-year-old.
“It just swelled up a bit.
“I was pushing it to play in the Hartlepool game because I wanted to play against Coops (Pools boss and Johnson’s ex-Middlesbrough team-mate Colin Cooper).
“It’s nearly where I live and I’ve got a lot of old friends playing for them.
“If it had been any other game I probably wouldn’t have played.
“I just had a few pain killers because I was desperate to play.”