Sunderland were fighting a relegation battle last season and only saved their back after earning some encouraging results, since the appointment of Paolo Di Canio.
The Italian is more of a coach than a manager. He involves more time with his players and how to improve them rather than other issues. There has been a sea-change in approach taken place at the Stadium of Lights. The backroom has been overhauled, several new faces have come in and Di Canio has come up with a revolutionary idea of “playing from the back”, which might help the Black Cats enjoy a reasonably good season.
Sunderland have sold two of their best players of last season. Simon Mignolet has been transferred to Liverpool while left-back Danny Rose has returned to Tottenham after enjoying a fine loan-spell. Further, Danny Graham, who failed to score a single goal since joining from Swansea in the January transfer window, has been sent on loan to Hull City. Also, Ahmed Elmohamady has joined Steve Bruce’ side on a permanent transfer.
Di Canio has replaced Mignolet with the purchase of Vito Mannone from Arsenal who could be prove to be an able deputy in the coming season.
Last season, where Sunderland suffered badly was in the department of creativity. The midfielders didn’t create enough chances for their strikers. Di Canio has signed Cabral, on a free transfer from Swiss club, FC Basel and so far what we have seen in the pre-season, is highly encouraging. He possesses wide range of passing skills that are required to unlock any defence and is the perfect sort of play-maker the club need.
Also, great things are expected from Italy international Emanuele Giaccherini, the winger signed for £6.6 million from Juventus. He brings an extra quality to the side, which will make Sunderland a more attractive team to watch out for.
But, the biggest signing of the season is undoubtedly, Jozy Altidore, signed from AZ for £8.8 million. Not only is he expected to score lots of goals, as he has been a prolific scorer in the Netherlands, but will provide sufficient support to Steven Fletcher as well.
In Di Canio’s first full season in charge, expect Sunderland to sail safely in the mid-table, without getting involved into relegation woes this time.