David Moberg Karlsson insists he will “fight hard and train hard” to establish himself at Sunderland.
The 19-year-old has joined the Black Cats in a £1.5million transfer from IFK Gothenburg, signing a four-year contract.
Such is the scale, in the player’s eyes, of both his new club and the Premier League that he thought his agent was joking when told of interest in him from Wearside.
But while he admits to having made a “big step” moving to England, Karlsson says he did not have to think twice about it.
And the Swedish Under-19 international is determined to make the most of the opportunity, and prove himself at the Stadium of Light. “It’s great, I found out four weeks ago so it’s been quite a rush, I only came here three days ago,” said Karlsson.
“I had a thought when I heard about the move that maybe my agent was joking, because the Premier League is the biggest league for me and Sunderland are a great club in England.
“So it’s a big step but it wasn’t anything I had to think about. If Sunderland were interested, I was interested.”
Predominantly a fringe player at Gothenburg before becoming a regular in the starting line-up during the current Swedish domestic season, Karlsson actually began his youth career as a centre-back.
But while he has yet to settle on a favoured position, the youngster is now more comfortable in a variety of attacking roles.
“I don’t think I have found my position, one that I’ll always play in,” he said.
“I like to play in all of the attacking positions. Of course, I like to play as a winger, then I can run with the ball.
“Paolo Di Canio says he sees me as a second striker or a right winger. Of course, we have very good players in these positions already so I’m going to fight hard, I will train hard and try to become a better player.
“I have to train hard to be as good as many of the players here.
“Many are starting regularly for the club and in their national teams, so of course I need to train hard. But soon I hope I will be at their level and play a lot of games.
“It’s a step up. Training so far has been at a high tempo but it’s great. These are great players and that makes it easier for me to play well.”
Meanwhile, with Sunderland having agreed an initial fee of £2.5m with Panathinaikos for 19-year-old Greek
winger Charas Mavrias, fellow target Jozy Altidore – for whom Sunderland have had a £4m bid rejected by AZ Alkmaar – has revealed he could be open to a move to Wearside.
“It is better for me not to comment on all the rumours, not only with Sunderland, but also with other clubs,” he said.
“(But) when you get the possibility to play somewhere else, you always have to think about it.
“In general, you might be happy in your job and you don’t think about leaving it. But if you have the opportunity to work somewhere else, you will think about it.
“What still counts for me is not the money. I have to know the feeling at a club suits me and I can develop myself as a football player.”
Former Sunderland striker Djibril Cisse has set his sights on a return to the France national team after joining Russian outfit Kuban Krasnodar just days after his release from QPR.
The 31-year-old has signed a one-year deal with an option for a further season at Kuban, who finished fifth in the Russian Premier League last season to qualify for the Europa League.
The journeyman striker, for whom Kuban will be his fifth club since leaving Marseille in 2009, hopes his return to the European stage will catch the eye of France boss Didier Deschamps.
“I love my country, I love the sensations that feel when I put on a tricolour shirt,” said Cisse, who last turned out for Les Bleus in 2011. “I really want to give all my power to once again return to the camp of the national team.
“I understand that I need to have a very good season for my new club.
“I think if Kuban achieve all their goals in the coming season, and I score regularly, anything is possible.”
Cisse had a year left on his contract at QPR, but reached an agreement on a mutual termination earlier this week.
He joined Rangers from Lazio for a reported £4m in 2012 and went on to score 10 goals in 29 appearances, but spent the second half of last season on loan at Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa.
With QPR boss Harry Redknapp required to reduce the wage bill following the club’s relegation from the Barclays Premier League, Cisse’s high wages were always likely to prove troublesome, and the player admitted he had been anticipating his exit.
Cisse said the move to Kuban was therefore not a snap decision, with the club first making contact several weeks ago.
“Overall, it was about three weeks,” he said. “I had to pause to think about it calmly because it was clear that I was leaving QPR.
“Therefore the decision to move to Kuban was quite a balanced step.”