7:06PM BST 09 Jul 2011
Bruce was dismayed by the way his side collapsed at the end of last season, winning just four of their final 16 games. But even the most optimistic Sunderland fan could not have imagined Bruce would have signed nine players by early July.
It has been one of the most intense periods of buying in Premier League history five of Sunderland's Premier League rivals are yet to make a single signing but Bruce is determined to sustain it a little longer.
He is still hopeful Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson will lower the wage demands which have so far prevented him joining former Old Trafford tea-mates John O'Shea and Wes Brown at Sunderland. Gibson will not go on United's pre-season tour of the US, staying behind instead to continue negotiations over a move.
Bruce also intends to add a top- class striker. He has considered a move for Jermain Defoe but is not convinced the Tottenham striker will move north, and his preference would be to re-sign Danny Welbeck on loan from United. Welbeck is due to fly to Seattle on Friday to join United's tour, and Bruce has been told that no decision will be made on his future until Sir Alex Ferguson has assessed his development. Bruce pondered a move for Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia, although a £9 million fee and wage demands of £60,000-a-week have put him off, and the winger seems likely to replace Stewart Downing when he leaves Aston Villa for Liverpool.
The Sunderland manager believes he has sent out a statement to the rest of the Premier League. "I wouldn't say I was finished but we're very pleased. We had four loan players leave, [Boudewijn] Zenden (who rejected a new contract) and the sale of Jordan Henderson, so it was important we made sure the squad's looking healthy again. It's got a good balance about it and I'm very, very pleased with what we've done."