Paolo di Canio has used his Italian contacts to help his Sunderland team grab a real coup in the transfer market.
The 45 year old has managed to convince Italian midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini to make the move from Juventus to the North-East for a fee of £6.5 million.
The 28 year old has had a glistening career at the Italian champions since signing in August 2011 and in addition has made 14 appearances for his country – appearing at both last year’s European Championship’s and the Confederations Cup a few weeks ago.
He is the ninth signing made by the Black Cats already and signals point to the start of a new era at the Stadium of Light.
So what exactly are Sunderland fans getting with Giaccherini?
He is a very versatile midfielder capable of playing on the left, right or even in the middle. Despite only making 10 starts for the Old Lady last season, Giaccherini is seen as a player who loves to play counter attacking football – a style which fits in with di Canio’s philosophy.
Giaccherini managed to grab three goals and three assists in Serie A last season, along with a pass completion rate of 87.9% – a stat which will undoubtedly excite the Sunderland faithful.
As an attacking midfielder, it is vital for Giaccherini to provide the Black Cats with impressive stats offensively – and he does just that.
In his 17 Serie A appearances last season, the Italian playmaker made a total of 38 shots (2.2 per game) and a total of 32 key passes (1.9 per game) – stats which are encouraging for any attacking midfielder.
Many are tipping Giaccherini to replace Stephane Sessegnon in Di Canio’s team next season; so is he an improvement on the Beninese international?
It is fair to say that Sessegnon carried the Sunderland team last season thanks to his ability to dribble past players with ease and provide a consistent threat to the opposition goal.
After making 35 appearances (including one substitute appearance) for Sunderland, Sessegnon scored seven times whilst providing his team with three assists.
In comparison, these stats are hugely in Giaccherini’s favour. Admittedly, you have to acknowledge who both players were contracted to last season – with Juventus winning Serie A and Sunderland just surviving in the Premier League – but you still get the impression that Giaccherini will bring a more stable and attractive flair to the Sunderland team.
And at a pass completion rate of just 87.9% it isn’t hard to see why di Canio opted to make a move for Giaccherini.
At just under £7 million, the Italian can be seen as an absolute bargain for the Black Cats.
However, if Giaccherini is to replace Sessegnon in the Sunderland team, one thing he will be missed for is his undoubted dribbling ability. At times, he made himself look invincible against some of the best defensive talent in Europe and it was a joy to watch as a neutral.
As you can see below, his creativity stats are arguably Sessegnon’s most admirable. He was able to complete over 44% of dribbles made whilst his crossing accuracy was 18% – a decent stat considering Sunderland’s style of play under Martin o’Neill.
And with the Beninese producing a chance every 73 minutes he pales in comparison to the figure of 29 minutes per chance created by Giaccherini. The 29 minutes per chance created stat is on par with some of the Premier League’s finest – last years stats shown below.
Also, Giaccherini hasn’t been brought into Sunderland to make darting runs and “wow” the crowds with his dribbling ability. He is very comparable to players like David Silva and Andrea Pirlo – and whilst he is not on the level of this pair, he will have the ability to control a game with his accurate passing and ability to support his team mates when attacking.
Whilst the playing staff being recruited by di Canio might not be as well known by the majority of people in this country, the Italian is quietly building a team capable of producing at least a top ten finish in the Premier League next season.
Giaccherini’s statistics from last season were taken from Who Scored.
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