New £6.5m recruit Emanuele Giaccherini hopes his move to Sunderland will act as a launchpad for his World Cup ambitions.
The Italy international midfielder has been officially unveiled as the Black Cats’ ninth summer addition, leaving Serie A champions Juventus to sign a four-year contract with the Wearsiders.
And he believes his move to the Premier League will boost his chances of adding to his 14 international caps, cementing his place in Cesare Prandelli’s squad for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
“I’ve reached the national side and I want to keep a tight grip on that,” said the 28-year-old. “Hopefully this new adventure will push me to get to the World Cup.”
Sunderland agreed the fee with Juventus and personal terms with the player last week, and he joined up with the squad at their training base on the shores of Lake Garda in northern Italy on Monday to undergo a medical, with the official confirmation of his move coming yesterday afternoon.
Giaccherini’s decision to swap Turin giants Juve for Sunderland is a huge coup for the Black Cats, and he is expected to become a key figure
in head coach Paolo Di Canio’s revamped side. First on the agenda for Giaccherini will be to hurdle the language barrier, as he admits he speaks no English at present.
But his enthusiasm at the move is evident, with the former Cesena man adding: “I spoke with Di Canio on Monday and I think he will be fundamental for me seeing as I don’t know the language very well.
“I’m feeling some beautiful sensations. I arrive here with great enthusiasm, a desire to do well, to start again. This is a wonderful adventure.”
He was also quick to pay tribute to his former boss at Juve, Antonio Conte, adding: “I (want to) thank coach Conte who gave me the opportunity to emerge in these two years, to get to where I have arrived.
“I think most of the credit for that belongs to him. I thank him and I’ll do that over the telephone too.”
Giaccherini’s arrival follows those of Valentin Roberge, Modibo Diakite, Cabral, Vito Mannone, Jozy Altidore, David Moberg Karlsson, El-Hadji Ba and Duncan Watmore to Wearside in what has been one of the club’s busiest ever summers in the transfer market.
And there will be more new arrivals before the season kicks off with deals already agreed for Argentinian defender Gino Peruzzi and Greek winger Charas Mavrias, while the Black Cats are also keen to bring in a left-back.
The timing of the confirmation of Giaccherini’s move meant he was not included in the Sunderland squad announced yesterday morning for their trip to Hong Kong to compete in the Barclays Asia Trophy, but he is almost certain to be added to the party,
The initial squad for Hong Kong included seven new signings, with youngster Watmore the only other new recruit to miss out. Also absent from the squad were Phil Bardsley, Lee Cattermole and Steven Fletcher.
Fletcher underwent ankle surgery last season and is not expected to be fit until the end of this month, but the omission of Bardsley and Cattermole is a further indication that they do not figure in Di Canio’s future plans and are likely leave this summer,
Striker Danny Graham was named in the squad for the trip, but he could also be heading for the exit.
Hull City’s ex-Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has confirmed that he is interested in signing the former Middlesbrough and Watford man, with a season-long loan deal mooted.
“There’s lots and lots of players and it’s always wrong for me to talk about them, but (Graham) is someone where there’s been a bit of interest,” Bruce said. “He hasn’t had the best of times in the North East but he’s a very, very good player. Whether it’s possible, who knows? It’s something we’re looking at but haven’t done anything just yet.”
Graham was Martin O’Neill’s final signing for Sunderland, joining from Swansea City in a ï¿½5m deal in January, but has yet to score in 13 appearances.