Sunderland close in on £8m Italian international midfielder

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Paulo Di Canio’s Sunderland rebuild continues apace and the Italian may be set to follow his £6m acquisition of AZ Alkmaar’s Jozy Altidore with a raid on his homeland for Juventus midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini.

The Black Cats gaffer has already set about moving on several senior players including ex-captain Lee Cattermole and attacking midfielder Stephane Sessegnon in what may already be beginning to have the agreeable feel of a fresh start for fans of the stagnating North East outfit.

Giaccherini has found game time hard to come by since making the move from Cesena to the Stadio Delle Alpi in 2011, with just 40 league starts amassed during that period.

However, anyone doubting his ability at the highest level had only to watch his dynamic contributions for the Italian national side at the recent Confederations Cup to be convinced he could be worth the reported £8.6m Sunderland must stump up for his services.

The fact that he has been used in a variety of positions – both for Juve and the Azzuri – is evidence of his willingness to do whatever it takes to help his team and he’s been spotted at all co-ordinates from right wing to left-back during the last 12 months.

Naturally an attacking central midfielder, Giaccherini received a lofty 7.55 rating from WhoScored.com for his eight appearances in that position during 2012/13, scoring twice and laying on two goals for his colleagues.

It had initially seemed that Juve boss Antonio Conte wasn’t keen to part with the midfielder – his agent suggesting it was unlikely he would leave Turin –  but Sunderland have been keen to push the deal through, offering to double his salary.

Ahead of a World Cup year the opportunity to play a more central role would ensure that he remains a part of Cesare Prandelli’s plans too and this is thought to have some bearing on the player’s amenability to the switch.

Italian football bible Gazetta Dello Sport certainly think the deal is going ahead, running a page five headline reading – in English – ‘Goodbye Giaccherini’ over an article about the 28-year-old’s impending exit.

The Black Cats are currently 15/8 to beat their bitter rivals Newcastle to top North East club honours this season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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