Ellis Short, the new Sunderland owner, spoke for the first time yesterday about his reasons for being at the club and what he expects from his investment.
Whoever is manager next season, and Steve Bruce remains the odds-on favourite, will be given funds to build a team that can finish in the top 10 of the Premier League.
"I became involved late last summer and our only real goal this year was not to get relegated," Short said. "With the money we spent last summer we probably shouldn't have come as close as we did. What we want to do is take this good club and continue to improve it... to try to finish in the top 10 next year. I don't ever want to go through a relegation battle again."
Negotiations between Sunderland and Wigan over Bruce are believed to be ongoing, though compensation is still an issue.
Sunderland released seven more players yesterday, most notably Dwight Yorke.