SEB LARSSON says Sunderland’s summer signings are a statement of intent.
And the former Birmingham City and Arsenal midfielder believes the stage is set for the Black Cats to show that last season’s top 10 finish is a starting point, rather than the limit of the club’s ambition.
Swedish international Larsson is one of nine close-season arrivals, with the likes of ex-Manchester United stars John O’Shea and Wes Brown also joining the Wearsiders after more than a decade at the peak of English football with the Red Devils.
And he says one of the reasons he rejected other offers was because he felt the Black Cats were a club on the up and he wanted to be part of it.
“Sunderland have spent the last few seasons establishing themselves in the Premier League but it is time to push on now,” he said.
“The players the manager has signed this summer – the likes of John O’Shea and Wes Brown, who have won so many trophies at Manchester United – have shown that the club is ready to move forward.
“It’s a statement of intent, and it can only be good for the club that it is able to attract players of that calibre.”
Larsson was courted by a host of clubs over the summer, including both former club Arsenal and Newcastle who were keen to snap him up on a Bosman free transfer.
But the 26-year-old is convinced he made the right decision to rejoin his old Birmingham boss Steve Bruce on Wearside.
He said: “It was a big plus for me that I have worked with Steve Bruce before and I know what he and his staff are all about.
“After having a chat with him, I just felt that this was the right place to come.
“I spoke to the club and the manager told me his ambitions and plans. But it’s nice to see the players drop in and so many new faces and big names – as I said, it is a statement of intent.
“I took my time in deciding what to do when I left Birmingham at the end of my contract.
“The main thing for me was to take the next step in my career, move on to the next level, and I definitely feel like I have done that by coming to Sunderland.
“I feel like I have come here at the right time. It’s nice to know where my future lies now and let everything settle down and focus on football.
“That’s what I want to do and I am delighted to be here.”
Aside from Bruce, Larsson also spoke to his Sweden team-mate, former Sunderland player Tobias Hysen, who gave the club a ringing endorsement despite spending only a year on Wearside in 2006/07.
He told the Echo: “I know Tobias well and I spoke to him over the summer, and he told me only good things about the club.”