NEW Sunderland manager Roy Keane showed he meant business this week when he brought in six new players, all with international experience.
But he says there will be no resting on the laurels of successfully bringing in half-a-dozen new players and that the real graft starts from this point on.
He said: “It’s been a hectic few days, to say the least!
“We got to work straight away following my appointment and we were looking at a number of players.
“An enormous amount of work has gone in behind the scenes and I’m delighted that we managed to get six new players before the deadline.
“All the players we have brought in will bring their own individual qualities to the squad, but collectively they will bring a higher competition for places in more positions and that will only help.
“Now all the hard work has been done off the field to bring these in, we have over a week to concentrate on the Derby game next Saturday – the hard work for the players and the coaching staff starts here.”
Keane had said at his unveiling as manager on Tuesday that he was looking to add experience and potential to his new squad if possible before last night’s transfer deadline.
And he has been as good as his word, bringing in half-a-dozen players who are set to transform the whole nature of Sunderland’s squad.
The first player confirmed through the doors on Thursday was Keane’s former Manchester United team-mate Dwight Yorke – a move which surprised football – when it emerged from Australia that the player had been persuaded to rejoin his former captain on Wearside.
But Yorke’s arrival on a two-year deal for just 200,000 was only the start on an incredibly busy day’s dealings at the Stadium of Light. Keane then completed a move for 32-year-old Wigan midfielder Graham Kavanagh – a former Republic of Ireland international midfield team-mate.
The former Middlesbrough, Stoke and Cardiff player signed a three-year deal for a fee of 500,000.
Celtic duo Stan Varga and Ross Wallace had arrived in Sunderland earlier than Kavanagh but their deals were not completed until after 9pm. In a combined deal potentially worth more than 1million, Scotland Under-21 midfielder and Slovakian international defender Varga moved to the Stadium of Light.
Wallace, a 21-year-old winger who can also play in defence, will strengthen a left side of the Sunderland side which has been depleted by the departures of George McCartney and Julio Arca.
Varga, a 33-year-old central defender, rejoins Sunderland three-and-a-half years after he left Wearside for Parkhead. But that was still not it on the transfer front.
With little more than a hour to go before the midnight transfer deadline, Sunderland nailed the signing of Manchester United midfielder Liam Miller on a free transfer, with the 25-year-old agreeing to a three-year contract at the Stadium of Light.
That deal looked to have completed a busy day for Keane but with the clock ticking past 11pm the Sunderland manager managed to do his final bit of business of the day – the signing of 29-year-old Wigan striker David Connolly on a three-year deal for a fee of potentially 1.9million.
In 24 hours, Sunderland had brought in a two strikers (Connolly and Yorke), two central midfielders (Kavanagh and Miller), a left winger (Wallace) and a centre-half (Varga). With previous arrivals, Tobias Hysen, William Mocquet, Kenny Cunningham, Robbie Elliott, Arnau, Clive Clarke and Darren Ward, it means Sunderland have bought in THIRTEEN players since Niall Quinn’s consortium took over the club less than two months ago.