Having managed to stave off relegation due to the great escape at the end of the previous season, Sunderland manager Gus Poyet was keen to ensure that his team kicked on, and that a repeat of the scrap we found ourselves in months earlier was avoided.
As such, he was searching for some real international talent that could not only give us a shot in the arm, but also play in the manner that he wanted his side to - possession-based football with a hint of South American flair and aggression.
Cristian ‘Cebolla’ Rodriguez had been strongly linked with Sunderland over the previous week or so, which only increased when he admitted that he wanted to leave Atletico Madrid.
Adding fuel to the fire was Poyet, who confirmed that Sunderland had an interest in hiring his Uruguayan compatriot.
Speaking to 890 Montevideo Radio, Gus admitted that Sunderland were in talks to sign the midfielder - but he expected competition from elsewhere:
Cebolla is a player who with his power, speed and technique would adapt very well to English football and I would love to have him on my team.
There have been and are talks for Sunderland to sign him, but the issue is not easy because Cristian must surely have doors open to him for several clubs in Europe.
His career has been spent at big clubs like Peñarol, Porto, Benfica, PSG and Atletico Madrid, played more than 70 international matches for Uruguay and for me it has all the ingredients you need. We are in negotiations but it will not be easy.
At one point I was hooked and I had packed, and even thought about how many vacation days I could give him. I have hope yet. I talked to him.
I preferred, for a matter of correction, not talk to him until he saw a real possibility with the numbers, and then explain why he was chosen and what was expected of him.
I am determined to sign a Uruguayan this year, within the characteristics of the players I’m looking for and I think they can bring, players like Suarez or Cavani, but they are not within the possibilities.
I think Cebolla has all the attributes to make an impact if he was brought to England.
At Atletico Madrid they appreciate him much because they know they can count on him any time and he will always give everything. It’s that mentality that leads to Uruguayans making a difference in many teams all over the world.
Elsewhere, we allowed future England #1 Jordan Pickford to join up with Bradford City for the season - the latest loan move in his young career in which he was tasked with proving himself at a decent level of football.
Pickford, who was just twenty years old at the time, had only just signed a new four year contract, so his spell out on loan at a club as big as Bradford was seen as a crucial step in his development.
The goalkeeper joined Phil Parkinson’s men as they looked to seek promotion to the Championship after ten years outside of the second tier of English football.
Pickers had previously spent time on loan at Darlington, Alfreton, Burton and Carlisle United, where he ended the previous season by keeping seven clean sheets in eighteen League One games. Any old idiot could see the lad was going to be class.