Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat says his summer spending is far from finished as he aims to make his current crop of Black Cats stars fight for their first-team future.
Advocaat has completed five new deals since making his own role at the Stadium of Light permanent at the end of last season, and is eyeing at least two before the end of the transfer window.
The Dutchman believes many of his side’s problems during the last campaign came about because a number of players were able to rest on their laurels with their places in the starting line-up assured.
“We have brought in players who improve the squad. Too many play- ers last season were very sure of their position and that is more difficult this season,” Advocaat said.
“We have brought in five players and Connor Wickham has gone, and we still hope to bring in one or two players more. The most important thing is that you have competition – that everybody has to fight for their places. You can see now in training that, that is improving.”
Jeremain Lens is expected to join Jermain Defoe up front in his new side’s season-opener at Leicester on Saturday, but there will be no place for fellow new boy Yann M’Vila who is short of match fitness.
Elsewhere, Eddie Howe has told his Bournemouth players to prove they are good enough for the Premier League ahead of Saturday’s visit of Aston Villa.
The Cherries boss has vowed to stick to the style which delivered the Championship title and promo- tion to the top flight last term for the first time in their history.
“We feel the team’s ready. Now we’ve just got to go out and prove that we’re good enough,” Howe said.
“I’m not saying we’re going to score 98 goals, but we’re certainly going to go at it the same way in terms of how we approach the games.”
Fellow newcomers Norwich welcome Crystal Palace on Saturday and captain Russell Martin has turned a blind eye to predictions the Canaries will go straight back down.
“I could not care less [about the predictions], if I am honest. It is someone’s opinion and we will see come the end of the season,” Martin said.
“A lot of the pundits commenting have probably not seen much of us play, so we will go and show what we are about.”
Know more about Sport360 Application