DAVID VAUGHAN insists Sunderland’s raft of new signings have quickly made themselves at home.
Ex-Blackpool midfielder Vaughan became the ninth player to put pen to paper on a move to Sunderland after agreeing a three-year deal at the Stadium of Light last week.
All bar Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-won have now reported for duty at the Academy of Light, with Vaughan, Keiren Westwood and Craig Gardner expected to feature in tonight’s maiden friendly at York City (7.30pm kick-off).
The fresh faces will get the opportunity to gel when Sunderland head to Germany for a week on pre-season tour on Friday.
But Welsh international Vaughan believes there is already a positive vibe among the Black Cats’ pack, with Sunderland the big spenders of the transfer window so far.
Vaughan told the Echo: “Starting at a new club can be a bit difficult sometimes, but coming here has been really easy.
“There’s a few players who’ve not arrived yet. But when everyone’s here, the squad will be impressive.
“There’s a lot of new faces, but the atmosphere in the squad is good. You wouldn’t really know there were so many new players.
“With so many new faces, it’s important to stick together during pre-season and the team spirit has got to be good.
“Hopefully we can all bond by the start of the season.
“I’m looking forward to getting started now.”
West Brom, Wolves and Rangers all chased Vaughan after he opted not to sign a new contract at relegated Blackpool, while Bolton made a last-gasp bid to hijack his move to Sunderland.
But the 28-year-old revealed how Sunderland were always in pole position for his signature – becoming the third Bosman to arrive on Wearside after Westwood and Seb Larsson.
The challenge for Vaughan now will be to prevail in what promises to be a fierce battle for places in the middle of the park, with 10 midfielders at Steve Bruce’s disposal.
“The squad’s looking really strong and it will be tough to play every week,” said Vaughan.
“There’s quite a few midfielders now and the competition is obviously going to be tough. But hopefully I can play as many games as I can.
“Hopefully I can bring a bit of composure on the ball in midfield and work hard off the ball.
“I like to get the ball deep in midfield and get things going and chip in with one or two goals.”
He added: “I only really got as far as talks with the other clubs really, nothing materialised in the end.
“Coming to Sunderland was something I wanted to do.
“It’s a good move for me and I just want to get playing now.
“My agent spoke to Steve Bruce towards the end of the season, just enquiring about my availability.
“There were one or two clubs looking at me, but Sunderland was always my first choice with the ambition and the size of the club. It was somewhere I wanted to come.”