“If you are going to pay money for players, and I say players, that was not a slip, if that was the case they would improve the team immediately but also for foreseeable future.
“We are all looking to do deals but I would not say everything is ready to move the minute January 1 falls.”
Whatever happens, O’Neill does not anticipate a repeat of last January when Sunderland were not keen to be involved in any business.
To be fair, it was a unique situation for the Black Cats, who had only just appointed O’Neill and picked up four victories in five games to ease their relegation worries significantly by the time the window swung open.
There was also the question of depressed expectations, with O’Neill’s target in January simply to maintain the club’s Premier League status.
He added: “Couple of reasons. Number one we gained two of results we might not have expected to get.
“We beat Manchester City and Wigan then lost to Chelsea and followed that up with wins against Swansea and Norwich which gave us some points.
“That was OK, then gave me the opportunity to have a look at every player in the squad.
“It had been the same team and the chairman asked me when I came in if we could stay in the division he would be satisfied.
“That gave me the opportunity to look at the squad and I was looking at maybe bolstering the attack, then we suffered a few injuries with the centre-backs so defence was more of a priority.
“This time now we would need to try and improve our strength and depth.”