Charis Mavrias is expected on Wearside tomorrow to complete a deal many thought had died a death.
It is nearly three weeks since the Black Cats agreed a £2.5m fee for the 19-year-old, and many took the delay in completing a deal as a sign that somebody had got cold feet. But sources at his current club, Panathinaikos, are expecting movement.
Should the transfer go through, it will take Sunderland’s tally of summer signings into double figures.
The delay has been blamed on a change of medical staff at the Stadium of Light which held up the processing of Mavrias’ records.
With so many players arriving this summer, it is no surprise the Greek is towards the back of the queue.
Gino Peruzzi’s medical was the focus last week, with a deal for the Italian full-back cancelled amid concerns over his knee. Emanuelle Giaccherini underwent a medical in Italy last week, and as a full Azzurri international he can expect to be ahead of Mavrias in the pecking order.
Coach Paolo Di Canio yesterday described Giaccherini as “one of the best players in Europe” for the style of play he has in mind, adding “there are not many wingers with his intelligence or ability to interpret the role”.
With Adam Johnson set to be one of the few players Di Canio has inherited to be handed a key role next season, Mavrias – who can play on either flank, or as a centre-forward – can expect to be a fringe player in the coming campaign.
Full-backs remain Sunderland’s top transfer priority and to no one’s great surprise, Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed Danny Rose will not be joining the Black Cats this summer.
Di Canio was interested in taking the England Under-21 international, who was Sunderland’s best outfield player during last term’s season-long loan. But his form has only served to remind Spurs what a good player they have on their books.
The Black Cats’ so far unsuccessful attempts to sign a host of left-backs showed they were resigned to being unable to bring back Rose, and he could line up against them in this morning’s Asia Trophy game in Hong Kong.
“He (Rose) had an excellent season last year,” said Villas-Boas.
“He is one of those players we want for our future.
“It is one of those cases where a loan has worked out extremely well for him and he will definitely be part of our squad this season.”
Meanwhile, the make-up of Sunderland’s scouting team has become clearer after Massimo Mirabelli revealed he was one of four recent additions from Serie A.
The department was overhauled in the summer, with Roberto Di Fanti taking over as director of football and Valentino Angeloni replacing Bryan “Pop” Robson as chief scout. Little is known about either, and the team beneath them has not been announced. But Mirabelli has revealed scouts Franco Pulin and Raphael Papone have joined from Inter Milan, and Antonio D’Ottavio from Torino.
“Angeloni some time ago reached out for my help, which I accepted despite being happy at Inter,” he said, “I came because I admire Angeloni.
“The organization is different from the Italian way. The director of football, which for us is De Fanti, holds the reins of the team, while the technical part is handled by the chief scout, in our case Angeloni. I interact with him, as do Antonio D’Ottavio, Raphael Papone and Franco Pulin.”
The Italian influence on Sunderland’s recruitment team is immediately obvious.
Vito Mannone and Emanuele Giaccherini are Italian, Modibo Diakite joined from Lazio, and many of the players Sunderland are still targeting fall into one of those brackets.
No British players have yet joined this summer.