O'Neill wants early signings

Sunderland boss wants to be proactive with his summer signings

Martin O'Neill: The Sunderland manager will experience pre-season with the club for the first time

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Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill admits he needs to act quickly in the summer transfer window to avoid missing the best available players.

A number of Premier League players are now available with their contracts ending in June, and the Black Cats are keen to improve on their 13th-placed finish this season.

The likes of Bolton striker Kevin Davies, Blackburn frontman Junior Hoilett and Wigan midfielder Mohamed Diame are all available to leave their respective clubs.

Sunderland were busy in the summer transfer window last season, recruiting the likes of Keiren Westwood, Nicklas Bendtner and Craig Gardner, amongst many others.

But O'Neill is experiencing his first close-season with the club and hopes to be active sooner rather than later.

Every market

He told the Sunderland Echo: "We will be looking in every market. But I agree that there might be one or two players available on Bosmans who are really worthwhile and can be an asset to the football club.

"We will have to be sharp and quick off the blocks though, because anyone who is half-decent will not be available for long. It has more than crossed my mind already.

"The agents soon start getting on the phone. And there are agents who I haven't heard of for six or seven years who are, all of a sudden, back in touch again.

"Their numbers may have changed but the voices are still the same - and sometimes they are offering the same players they were six or seven years ago!

"I'm very excited - it's been a very busy six months, but it has at least given me the chance to look at the squad and decide where we need to bring in reinforcements.

"Obviously when you look at the fact that no-one reached double figures in terms of goals for us last season, that is one area we need to address.

"But there are other areas I would like to look at too."