Sunderland must bring in fresh recruits this summer who are on a par with their January signings, insists captain John O’Shea.
Sam Allardyce oversaw Sunderland’s most successful transfer window since the summer of 2009 when he brought in Lamine Kone, Jan Kirchhoff and Wahbi Khazri, with the trio providing the catalyst to the Black Cats remaining in the Premier League.
The January boys came in and settled in so quickly and had such an impact.
O’Shea has seen a succession of flop signings made by Sunderland in the five years since he arrived at the Stadium of Light, with that poor recruitment one of the principal factors behind the club’s annual struggles against relegation.
But January was different, with the skipper, himself, losing his starting place to the combination of Kone and Younes Kaboul, and O’Shea is hoping some more players of that calibre can propel Sunderland permanently away from the doldrums.
“We added to the quality of the squad in January and hopefully the manager will get the chance to do that again,” said O’Shea.
“That will increase the competition and I’ve said throughout my whole career, that the quality only gets better with more competition.
“The January boys came in and settled in so quickly and had such an impact.
“I’ll be hoping - and I’m sure the manager will be - that he can make an impact early on and get things done quickly.”
O’Shea believes the other key factor for Sunderland next season is to start the campaign on the front foot.
The Black Cats mustered a paltry three points from the opening nine games this year, and haven’t won of their first five Premier League fixtures since 2012-13.
“There were some great performances (to stay up) but that’s what we usually do, leaving it late,” said the 35-year-old.
“The key thing now is the start of next season, from the minute we come back for pre-season.
“It’s up to us to give it to the fans and make sure we don’t have two or three points after eight or nine games.
“But there’s no point in just saying it again. We’ve got to do it.
“The proof will be in the pudding. We have to start the season better.”
O’Shea’s season is far from finished yet, with the ex-Manchester United man due to meet up with the rest of the Republic of Ireland squad this weekend ahead of the European Championships.
The target for Ireland is to emerge from their qualifying group in France, and certainly to enjoy a better tournament than Euro 2012, where they failed to register a single point.
O’Shea added: “This is why you play for your country, to play in major tournaments.
“Hopefully we have a more enjoyable one than the last time.
“We’re under no illusions, but with the way the format is this time, the big thing for us will be to get out of the group.”