Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has said that his first transfer window as manager of the Black Cats was "probably the second best" of his managerial career, hailing the "mini-miracle" that has seen his winter additions adapt to the Premier League so well.
Big Sam made wholesale changes to his squad at the turn of the year, as Jan Kirchhoff, Lamine Kone, Wahbi Khazri and Dame N'Doye were brought in to the club, as well as Steve Harper who was seen as cover as well as an experienced figure to assist the club's current goalkeepers Vito Mannone and Jordan Pickford during training.
Allardyce also shipped players out of the club, with notable departures such as Steven Fletcher and Costel Pantilimon joining others including Danny Graham and Jordi Gomez.
Big Sam pleased with winter window signing's impacts
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Allardyce said that he "never expected" to be playing Kirchhoff, Kone and Khazri every week although he is thrilled with the way they have "come from abroad and adapted so quickly."
Kone and Khazri were constants in the respective Lorient and Bordeaux starting elevens, so Allardyce suspected that they "would be alright straight away."
Kirchhoff and N'Doye however had not played consistent first-team football all season, making the former's impact all the more impressive, with the Sunderland boss citing it as "one of the main reasons why we’ve been as good as we have."
The fact that the four cost under £15 million in transfer fees simply represents the success of the January window for Sunderland, who moved out of the relegation zone after last Sunday's goalless draw at home to Arsenal.
The Black Cats face a trip to the Britannia Stadium to play Stoke City tomorrow afternoon, as they look to stay ahead of the pack in a tense relegation battle that looks as if it may well go down to the wire.