The Black Cats manager has admitted he is a firm believer that winter signings can come good and is hoping to bring in new recruits without selling any of his current squad
The Black Cats have suffered a poor start to their Premier League campaign, lying in 16th place after 17 games – just a point from the drop zone.
And O'Neill believes that January provides the perfect opportunity to recruit new faces that can be of assistance in turning round his side's season.
"I think that first of all, you have to try as best you can to have people in mind," O'Neill told reporters.
"Those things might not come to fruition, but I do believe you should have people in mind that you think can come in and help, not only in the short-term, but be proper players here for the not-too-distant future."
O'Neill also dismissed the notion that teams end up paying over the odds in January, citing his signing of Ashley Young at Aston Villa as example of astute winter-time business.
"People have always said that because it's January it's kind of a seller's market, as it were, that there's the possibility that if you bought somebody you might pay too much," said O’Neill.
"I'm not so sure that that’s necessarily true. I think that if you think there's somebody there who can improve your side, somebody you feel is going to be a decent player for the football club, then you might have to pay some extra for him.
"My own experience of this was Ashley Young at Aston Villa. At the time that we bought him [from Watford], I felt that if we waited on until the summertime, there might be more teams coming in for him.
"So we bit the bullet and took him on. That was January and he was a great signing."
And, with the Black Cats boss intent on bringing in new players, he also insisted that no players would be leaving the club on loan during the transfer window - at least not until they sign replacements.
O'Neill continued: "We can't afford to let anyone go out on loan, we're short enough.
"It doesn't mean that we won't do it but we need to be trying to look to get players in first, rather than players out.
"I think most people will be going in with tentative enquiries about people.
"And of course, you have to say that whether you like it or not it is a time when agents are making themselves very, very busy.
"It's their one period between now and the end of January to make their money."