Bailey Wright's move to Wearside saw Phil Parkinson land his number one summer transfer target.
Of the 'seven or eight' additions Parkinson set out to bring in ahead of the new season, Wright is the man he wanted more than any other.
Parkinson sees the Australian international as the cornerstone around which he will build his defence, with Wright operating as the middleman in a back three, likely with Jordan Willis and Tom Flanagan either side of him.
It is a position in which Wright made a huge impression in a short space of time while on loan with Sunderland last season, and his return on a two-year contract has been greeted with near-universal approval by supporters.
Because while Wright made only a handful of appearances before an ankle ligament injury brought a premature end to his campaign in February even before the Covid-19 crisis struck, the 28-year-old helped Sunderland keep four clean sheets and earn 12 points in those five outings.
He made a big difference and for the all-too-brief period he was in the side, Sunderland looked like genuine promotion contenders.
Sunderland's plan had always been to sign Wright when his contract at Bristol City expired, and in an ideal world he would have joined a team newly-promoted to the Championship.
Covid-19 put paid to the season and with it the Black Cats' chances of promotion, but Sunderland have made a statement of intent by bringing in Wright regardless.
To do so, they had to see off competition for his signature from Championship sides and from at least one club on the Continent.
With the threat of a salary cap looming, Sunderland could not match the salary Wright was earning at Bristol but the defender enjoyed his time at the club last season, he was keen to return, and that made the deal possible.
With 24 senior international caps, more than 125 Championship games, and a League One promotion with Preston North End on his CV, Wright brings plenty of knowhow to this Sunderland team.
He was also Bristol City's club captain - Parkinson values his leadership qualities and it would be no surprise to see Wright wearing the armband at Sunderland next season.
Along with Wright, Sunderland have also brought in a striker with Championship experience in the shape of Republic of Ireland international and ex-Millwall man Aiden O'Brien, and have re-signed Northern Ireland international Flanagan .
According to Parkinson's original shopping list, that means Sunderland are still looking to add four or five more players in the current transfer window.
Jon McLaughlin's departure means another goalkeeper is a must, as competition and cover for Lee Burge who looks destined to take over the number one shirt.
Other likely additions include at least one more centre-back, specialist cover for Denver Hume at left wingback, and a striker to compete with Charlie Wyke.
If the salary cap is voted through this week, Sunderland will have to spend their remaining wage budget wisely but the signings made so far have been a step in the right direction.