Paolo Di Canio has been a man of his word. He promised major changes after taking charge midway through last season and he has followed through with his plans this summer. With 10 new players already signed and the promise of a few more before the transfer window ends in early September - there is a certainly a different feel to the Wearside giants. Big-money captures have arrived in the shape of Jozy Altidore and Italian international Emanuele Giaccherini, whilst Cabral and Modibo Diakite have landed on a free transfers. Ondrej Celustka is another man to have arrived on a loan. Simon Mignolet, Danny Graham, Titus Bramble and James McClean have been amongst those leaving.
Di Canio arrived in a blaze of publicity last season when his off-field issues almost overshadowed his arrival but he did his job and saved Sunderland from relegation. He will let his players know what needs to be done and what is going wrong. His man management has been called into question and the pressure will be on from the off as he embarks on his first full season in the top flight. Even if the football on the pitch does not create column inches, the views of the manager certainly will.
Ins and Outs
- Emanuele Giaccherini - £6.5m
- Jozy Altidore - £6m
- Vito Mannone - £2m
- Simon Mignolet - £9m
- Ahmed Elmohamady - £2m
- James McClean - £1m
The American has arrived with a big price tag from Dutch football, having previously been a bit of a flop in the Premier League with Hull.
Despite being a new signing, he comes with a big reputation and has already performed very well in pre-season.
With so many new faces around, it is crucial Sunderland have some experience and there is nobody better than their skipper.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Sunderland will certainly look to offer more in attack with Di Canio. He likes to use the full-backs and midfield to support the attack. It is safe to say Di Canio will live and die by his new signings - if the likes of Altidore, Diakite, Giaccherini et al impress, then Sunderland will be strong. Di Canio has the fans on side and he needs to use that in his favour. If things start to go wrong, the Italian's temperament could become the club's biggest weakness. With Vito Mannone and Kieren Westwood battling for the No.1 shirt - Mignolet's sale could prove a pivotal one.
No manager in the Premier League has been busier than Di Canio this summer, splashing cash on big names whilst raiding the free transfer market. He wants more cover at left-back and still has players to sell. Everyone knew Di Canio would overhaul the Sunderland squad but it remains to be seen whether trying to do it all over the course of one summer is the right way. Despite being the busiest side, they will work up until September 2nd on more deals.
"I want to attack. The best teams can counter with three passes and you need that but I want a mix of football - a team capable of keeping the opposition in their own half, damaging them with movement, quality and intelligent play, and also to counter."
Paolo Di Canio
"There are a lot of new signings in the squad and we are evolving to the way the manager wants us to play. The lads who were here when he arrived last season know what he expects from us. Now it is up to the new players to get up to speed."
Facts and Figures
Number of times Sunderland hit the woodwork last season
Sunderland made more blocks than any Premier League side
Stephane Sessegnon won a joint-high total of fouls in 2012/13
Bookings collected by Craig Gardner in last season's league
Sunderland saw a league-high total of opponents red carded
You just hope the club can settle down. My message to Sunderland fans is simply to enjoy the ride. Anything could happen this season. Sunderland did need to bring in a few players this summer; they had a really tight squad of players and did not have nearly enough numbers and they were struggling towards the end of last season when they lost Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole and could not replace them. They were in big trouble and should be grateful for the lifeline they got at the end of last season. The big thing for Sunderland now is hoping that all of those new Di Canio signings can really gel together and form some sort of team.