Wednesday 23 October 2019

Di Canio sets sights on new faces

Di Canio in Sunderland spat
Di Canio in Sunderland spat

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio is happy to leave the identification of summer targets to others as he prepares for a recruitment drive.

The Black Cats are expected to appoint Milan-based agent Roberto Di Fanti as director of football, and he will work alongside owner and chairman Ellis Short to find the players the manager needs and strike the deals to secure their services.

Di Canio told the Sunderland Echo: "I know that the club has a plan, and the picture is clear before me of how it will work. I am head coach, the others have to handle the financial situation. I have said to them, we need this type of player, this type of quality, in this position or that position, so show me the players we can go and get and I will tell them, 'Yes, this player is okay' or 'No, this player is not'."

The former Swindon boss has already revealed he would like to bring in six or seven new faces this summer, and there are certain to be departures with Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon out of contract and Phil Bardsley having done himself few favours after being photographed lying on the floor of a casino covered in £50 notes during a night out.

The 44-year-old Italian was furious and both Bardsley and Kilgallon were omitted from the squad for Sunday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Tottenham as a result of their alleged involvement.

Di Canio has been less than impressed with the discipline at the club since his arrival at the end of March, and he revealed last week that he had handed out fines to seven players within a matter of days for breaches of the Black Cats' internal rules. However, sources on Wearside have insisted there is no rebellion within the club amid reports the dressing room is in open revolt.

It has emerged in recent days that two of those fined have since turned to the Professional Footballers' Association for advice, sparking suggestions of a rift between the manager and some members of the squad.

However, insiders have played down the rumours with club officials privately baffled at the reaction to a club punishing its employees for breaches of discipline in an era when footballers are often pilloried for their conduct.

They insist all the penalties are in line with the rules, which dictate that no player can be fined more than two weeks' wages. Every offender has the right to seek independent counsel and sources insist it is not unusual for people hit with fines to seek advice from the PFA, which two have done on this occasion.

PA Media

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