The Paolo Di Canio revolution reaches its next phase today as Sunderland prepare to officially unveil three new signings – with the hope of landing another four this week.
The Black Cats are scheduled to return for the start of pre-season on Wednesday and they will be joined by Valentino Roberge, midfielder Cabral and Lazio defender Modibo Diakite, who all join today after the expiration of their previous contracts.
Sunderland hope to have tied up deals for Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone, Le Havre defender Benjamin Mendy, Inter midfielder Daniel Bessa and Velez Sarsfield defender Gino Peruzzi before the end of the week – while Roberto De Fanti has not given up hope of landing Alfred Duncan despite the Milanese club telling the Black Cats they do not want to sell. A loan move is a possible alternative.
They have moved impressively quickly to bring in all four, and signing Peruzzi – who is in “advanced negotiations” with the club – would be something of a coup given that he was set to join PSV Eindhoven before Sunderland’s bid.
The right-back, who on Saturday helped his club beat Newell’s Old Boys 1-0 in a play-off final to win Argentina’s Super title, says he is eager to start his Premier League career. “It’s beautiful, especially since in my opinion it’s one of the best leagues because of the tempo played there,” said Peruzzi, who has won four caps with Argentina.
“I think English football is the most competitive. Yes, (Christian) Bassedas (Velez general manager) told me about the city, the people, that there is a lot of respect, he said something about the team. He told me that he liked to play there.
“I want to leave (Velez) as a winner.”
Peruzzi’s move could be concluded by the end of the week, but the arrival of Mendy is likely to be the first deal to be struck, with Le Havre president Jean-Pierre Louvel said agreement had been “agreed” between the two clubs to take the highly-rated left-back to Wearside. “Discussions went well between the two clubs. For now nothing is done – we need the player and his representatives to agree with Sunderland,” he said.
Sunderland have offered Mendy’s Le Havre team-mate El-Hadji Ba a three-year contract and expect the pair of them to be on board in time for the Black Cats’ pre-season trip to Hong Kong for the Barclays Premier League Asia Trophy, which will see them take on Tottenham on July 24 and either local side South China or Manchester City three days later.
Sunderland had hoped to bring in Ibrahima Mbaye and Duncan, of Inter but, after meetings in Milan, De Fanti was told the club had decided not to sell either until they had seen them back in pre-season training.
Di Canio’s desire is to see two strikers join the club too, and one of their reported targets, Jozy Altidore, says he is ready to return to the Premier League. He had an uncelebrated stint at Hull City before moving to Holland but is eager to show how far he has improved.
“I think I was 19 or just turned 20 and I had not played in Europe before that. I have come a long way since then,” he said. “I have learned a lot. So I don’t think there is any resemblance to that time if I went back to the league any time soon.”