Dick Advocaat’s Sunderland U-turn last month was a huge relief.
Instead of hunting for a new manager to take the helm, the club has been able to look for fresh faces to lead the charge against relegation next season.
And Advocaat’s first transfer market at Sunderland has been one full of excitement and promise.
The £8million signing of Jeremain Lens has grabbed the headlines and the winger brings the sort of creativity and pace the team so desperately lacked last season.
However, Sunderland’s deal to sign Younes Kaboul and Adam Matthews along with securing Sebastian Coates on a permanent deal could prove more pivotal.
The Black Cats conceded 53 goals in 38 games last term, and as the season progressed, it became more evident that John O’Shea and Wes Brown’s days at the club were numbered.
The centre-back duo have been at the heart of the Sunderland defence since they joined in 2011.
But the 8-0 defeat to Southampton and the 4-0 loss to Aston Villa showed that they are edging past their sell-by date.
Brown and O’Shea still provide invaluable experience to the Sunderland line-up, but it’s time for Advocaat to prioritise the development of Coates.
While he has found himself out of favour at White Hart Lane, Kaboul has the potential to be a perfect centre-back partner for Coates.
The French defender lacked opportunities at Tottenham, but at the age of 29, will be hoping to impress Advocaat as he enters his prime footballing years.
Coates looks set to be absent from Sunderland’s penultimate pre-season friendly against Doncaster Rovers tonight, but Advocaat will get the chance to evaluate how Kaboul can fit into next season’s side.