Darren Bent has said he felt a bit odd when the club decided to bolster their attack with the addition of Asamoah Gyan.
Gyan, 34, joined The Black Cats following his scintillating performance at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The club paid a record fee of over £13m to sign the then 24-year-old centre forward from Stade Rennes in the 2010 summer transfer window.
Bent had enjoyed a good debut season with Sunderland scoring 25 goals in all competitions but returned to pre-season with the arrival of Gyan and Danny Welbeck.
According to the former English international, hearing reports about striker Gyan joining the team in the summer was odd.
“You can’t help but think, what’s going on here?”, the former Sunderland striker told Talk Sports.
“I wouldn’t say it was an issue, but when I was at Sunderland, I had a very, very good season. I scored loads of goals.
“And then I missed out on the World Cup that summer and Asamoah Gyan was fantastic for Ghana that summer.
“I remember reading the paper one day, maybe I was at home or on holiday, and it said, ‘Sunderland have been linked with Asamoah Gyan’, and I thought that’s a bit odd.
“Next thing I know, I return to pre-season a little later, and Gyan walks in the building… Danny Welbeck walks in the building…
“I’m thinking, ‘What is going on here!?’ I stayed, but only until January.”
Asked what his initial reaction was, and if he was sizing Gyan up after his arrival, Bent continued: “Of course. That’s what you do.
“You start looking in training and thinking about what is he good at? What can he do, what can he not do so well?
“Ultimately, in the position I play in it’s just about scoring more goals than them. That’s the way I thought about.”
Gyan left Sunderland in September 2011 just after a season to join UAE side Al-Ain.