Wahbi Khazri insists Sunderland’s perilous situation in the relegation dogfight was no barrier towards him making a £9million move to the Stadium of Light.
It has been a whirlwind 10 days for January capture Khazri, who only found out about Sunderland’s interest at the start of last week, before a big money move from French side Bordeaux was quickly wrapped up.
The attacking midfielder had been linked with Everton, Aston Villa and Sevilla during the transfer window, yet ultimately joined second bottom Sunderland, whose position in the Premier League relegation battle looks ever more ominous.
But Khazri jumped at the chance of moving to Wearside and after making his Sunderland debut in Tuesday night’s defeat to Manchester City, he believes Sam Allardyce’s side can still avoid the drop, despite daunting upcoming fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United.
Khazri said: “I only had two days of training before Tuesday night and it’s all been a bit crazy, but I’m very happy to be at the club.
“I’ve seen how well the team can play and how great the supporters are, so hopefully it will continue like that.
“It was 10 days ago that I first heard about the interest from Sunderland and everything moved very fast after that.
“This is the league that I’ve been wanting to play in, with the biggest teams and players.
“When you get the chance to join a great club like Sunderland, I was eager to come.
“The situation in the league was not a problem for me.
“Obviously, it’s very serious.
“But if we can get a couple of victories, then it’s completely possible that we can avoid relegation.
“We’ve got two important matches coming up against Liverpool and Manchester United.”
Khazri – in line to start at Anfield on Saturday – was introduced as a half-time substitute against Man City and like his fellow January signings, made a positive impression.
And even though Sunderland came away empty-handed against title-chasing City, Khazri believes there was enough encouragement in the performance to suggest that the Black Cats can add to their points tally against Liverpool and Man United.
He added: “Even though we didn’t score against Manchester City the other night, there was a lot of good things that we saw to go into the next game.
“It was unfortunate that we came away with no points because we played well, worked so hard throughout the match and we have to carry on like that at LIverpool.
“It’s good that we played so well against a team at the top level like Man City, so let’s see if we can come away with anything on Saturday.
“We’re obviously in a difficult position in the league and we need points.
“But there’s still a lot of matches left to go.
“We know that in this situation, everyone has to work together if we’re to beat one of the big teams.
“But I think if we have the same mentality at Liverpool, then we can pick up some points.”