Vito Mannone believes Sunderland stand on the brink of a “special” new era.
But the Italian goalkeeper has warned his new team-mates that only “hard work and doing everything we can” will deliver success.
Mannone completed a £2million move from Arsenal on Wednesday, signing a two-year contract at the Stadium of Light.
His arrival follows those of defenders Modibo Diakite and Valentin Roberge, and midfielders Cabral, David Moberg Karlsson, El-Hadji Ba and Duncan Whatmore.
The Black Cats have also agreed fees for Le Havre left-back Benjamin Mendy, who is also attracting interest from Cardiff City, Velez Sarsfield right-back Gino Peruzzi and Panathinaikos winger Charas Mavrias.
And Mannone says that, rather than having joined a squad of players well-established under a time-served manager, the overwhelming sense of “something new for everyone” bodes well for the future of the club.
“We are all starting from the same line – the old players and the new,” he said. “We all want to achieve something between us. That could be good.
“It’s not like you’re coming into a team with a lot of big-name stars who have been playing under the manager for ages.
“This is something new for everyone, and hopefully it will be special.
“We need to work hard to make
it happen because it will not happen on its own. We have to do everything we can to try to make it happen.”
Having started pre-season training at the Academy of Light on Wednesday, Sunderland fly to Peschiera Del Garda, near Verona, Italy, tomorrow for a 10- day training camp.
Mannone, 25, attended similar set- ups, in Austria whilst with Arsenal, and after an “enjoyable” first few days with his new club, is relishing the opportunity to return to his homeland before the club move on to Hong Kong at the end of July. “It’s been funny and enjoyable,” he said. “I was really impressed with everything in the first two days – with the club, the facilities, the bunch of lads and the staff. So far, it’s all been positive.
“I just hope it keeps going like that and all the positives come. We started the work well and I’m really happy to work hard and get prepared for the big season ahead.
“I’m looking forward to the trip to Italy. I’ve never spent any time in pre- season in Italy, apart from when I was very young.
“Hopefully, we’ll be guaranteed nice weather. Arsenal went to a similar camp in Austria for many, many years and it was really beneficial.
“In the last two years, we changed to Asia and obviously we are doing that here at Sunderland as well this summer. I think it is a perfect mix.
“To be honest, I prefer to be based in places like Austria or Peschiera Del Garda, for at least part of the pre-season because that is where you can get some really good work done.
“You can really work and concentrate on improving your fitness and the way you operate as a team.
“The trip to Asia will be very different, but it will be brilliant. Until you have been out there, you don’t really appreciate how many fans there are, and how much passion they have for the Premier League.
“They know the league so well and it’s incredible to see. We will enjoy that, but it will be nice to have had the base of the work in Italy first. With the programme we have, we can do both.
“I think there is a chance more players could be added while we are out there, so it’s going to be very useful to all be together in the same place, away from everything else and getting to know each other.”