Paolo di Canio appears willing to rule with an iron fist, and after Sunderland finished just three points above the relegation zone, the Italian has promised swathes of changes over the summer months.
Business so far
Matthew Killgallon, among those involved in the infamous late-night casino visit prior to the final game of the season, and floundering defender Titus Bramble have both been released. Duncan Watmore was the club's first signing of the summer from Altrincham, while Basle midfielder Cabral is expected to join also. To help improve the club's recruitment, Di Canio has replaced Bryan 'Pop' Robson with fellow countryman Roberto De Fanti.
What they need
In a word, goals. Only Stoke City and relegated Queens Park Rangers netted fewer in the Premier League last term and in Danny Graham, who failed to score after moving to Swansea City, Martin O'Neill brought the flop signing of the January window. After Danny Rose returned to Tottenham Hotspur, Di Canio needs to add a credible left-back to his squad in order to build on the Black Cats' impressive defensive record.
Who could join
While Cabral will add steel to the Sunderland midfield, tricky wingers Milos Krasic and Aiden McGeady have both been linked with the club, as have Celtic pair Gary Hooper and Fraser Forster. With Benoit Assou-Ekotto monopolising the Tottenham left-back position, Rose has been linked with a permanent move to the Stadium of Light also but a move for Frenchman Valentin Roberge appears more likely.
Who could leave
Such was the disastrous nature of Sunderland's season that the reputation of their prized assets has dwindled to the extent that Di Canio will have free reign over who he may retain this summer. The only exception is goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who after keeping 11 clean sheets last season in the league, has spoken of his discontent at having spent much of the campaign in the lower echelons. Both Arsenal and Liverpool are credited with serious interest. Meanwhile, the misfiring Graham has been linked with an unlikely move to newly promoted Cardiff City. Phil Bardsley has no future at the club.
What the manager has said
"It is clear that we have to bring in players over the summer - half-a-dozen, maybe more," Di Canio said. "We finished near the relegation zone and so it is obvious that we need to make changes to make sure that we are not in this situation next season.
Wholesale changes are expected, but a successful summer will hinge on the retention of Mignolet, upon too much was relied on last season.