Over the years, Sunderland have seen the good, the bad and the ugly side of central defenders over the years, with Steve Bould and Charlie Hurley the only two that played magnificently during their time here. It was a very disappointing season, one where defensively we were fragile and bare in numbers, but since the turn of the summer Paolo Di Canio has already began his quest to bulk up the squad.
It’s been 12 years since Claudio Reyna played for Sunderland AFC and he was the last American to play first team football for the club. There was Stuart Holden, but let’s not get in to that. After weeks of speculation and a lot of waiting, the Black Cats announced that USA International Jozy Altidore had signed a four-year contract and flew straight to join the rest of the squad in Italy.
Another addition to the Italian invasion is the 28 year old midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini, who arrives at Sunderland from Italian giants Juventus. Coming from the back of an impressive showing at this summer’s Confederations Cup, the signing of a pint-sized, technically gifted Italian international has excited most sections of the Sunderland faithful...
Sunderland's elusive search for full backs has been as extensive as it has been wide. It has stretched across Europe to South and Central America and back. At times, it has seemed more like a game of chess with so many rumours advanced yet regularly falling over or being chopped down like pawns without commanding any forethought.
Not going to apologise for the headline...regardless of the fact that I should...Perhaps this signing is a little bit odd, given the need for a left back and a creative midfielder - as well as the lack of remaining transfer clout for Sunderland. To be fair though, this transfer has been in the pipeline for a long time and the money spent here is likely to have been accounted for well over a month ago.
Let me start by pointing out that I at no point during this piece want to indicate central midfield is our only issue. Far from it, but the answer to Paolo Di Canio’s cry for a creative midfielder seems to have arrived as Ki Sung-Yeung joins us on loan from Swansea City.I’d be surprised if the need for a creative midfielder has been overlooked by any Sunderland fan, but let me underline the shortfall our current midfielders don’t seem capable of overcoming.
We lost out on a few Plan A’s in the transfer window and Plan B seems to be a directionless flap scouring the loan market for the proverbial ‘stop-gap’ resolution. The old ‘the roof is leaking so stick a bucket under it’ approach. This seems to have been the defining solution for major squad shortfalls in our transfer tactics for a little while now, including this revolution…ish…summer.
After days, weeks and what felt like years at times, the transfer window has been shut - Paolo Di Canio had concluded business and finally, yes finally has signed a left back…permanently! The void was always going to be tough to fill after Danny Rose’s successful season-long loan came to an end as he returned to Tottenham Hotspur but in the name of Andrea Dossena we will now have to trust.
There is no doubt that this summer has been simultaneously one of the most interesting and confusing that I can recall for the club. A comprehensive restructure has been enacted, with scouts of international renown brought in to deliver a brave new approach to player recruitment. A huge number of names have been linked with us...