Sunderland defender John Mensah is confident the club can improve on last season's 13th-placed finish.
The 27-year-old Ghana international played 90 minutes for the Black Cats for the first time in his time on Wearside in Saturday's 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw with Birmingham and can already see an improvement from the last campaign.
Mensah, back at the Stadium of Light on another loan deal from Lyon, told the Sunderland Echo: "I am so happy to be back and be a part of it because I love the idea that the club is going forward the way that it is."
He added: "I have only been back a few days, but you can tell that some really talented players have been added to the squad.
"And because it was already a young squad, the players who were already here are better for last season's experience in the Premier League."
Mensah and his colleagues could well be joined by further new additions before the transfer window closes as manager Steve Bruce assesses his options.
It is understood there is cash available to make a significant acquisition following Kenwyne Jones' £8million departure for Stoke, and that Mensah's international team-mate Asamoah Gyan remains in the frame, although Peter Crouch, who rejected a move to the club last summer, is too expensive at £12million.
There could yet be further departures too with Anton Ferdinand attracting interest from Italy, while George McCartney and Matt Kilgallon are attracting interest, as is former Republic of Ireland midfielder Andy Reid.
However, even if Bruce does manage to boost his transfer kitty, the club will stick to its policy of refusing to pay what is considers to be over the odds for new signings.
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