Sunderland’s Di Canio: Now get me my playmaker

Paolo Di Canio.
Paolo Di Canio.
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SUNDERLAND will move on swiftly from their disappointment in missing out on Hull-bound Tom Huddlestone.

But Paolo Di Canio will insist that the club still go in search of a quality, ball-playing English central midfielder with physical presence, before the transfer window closes at 11pm on September 2.

Huddlestone seemed to perfectly fit the template Di Canio outlined to the club’s director of football Roberto De Fanti and chief scout Valentin Angeloni at the start of the summer.

And the Black Cats did enquire about the availability and cost of the 26-year-old Tottenham man – a player whose quality has never been in doubt, even though injuries have disrupted his career.

Sunderland, though, were unwilling to meet the initial figures quoted by Spurs and settled themselves in for what is usually a long haul in negotiating with the Londoners.

In the meantime, the Black Cats spent ambitiously with £6.8million Emanuele Giaccherini joining from Serie A champions Juventus while £6m was spent on bringing in key striker Jozy Altidore from AZ Alkmaar.

In all, the Black Cats have already spent nearly £30m in transfers and extra costs.

And when Hull came in with their club record-breaking offer to Spurs, Sunderland found themselves having to accept that Huddlestone was out of their budget, as things stand.

Yesterday, Di Canio accepted the situation as Huddlestone penned a three-year deal with Steve Bruce’s Tigers but is still striving for the sort of midfielder he feels is critical to the side’s progress.

And although he appreciates that such players are hard to find, the Italian uggests that a loan move or a young footballer of potential, rather than an established player, might have to be the way Sunderland go this term.

“I don’t want to talk about Tom Huddlestone,” he said.

“But we are looking for a player and, for me, when we are looking for a player, character is the most important thing.

“If I outline the sort of player I want and I’m told we can’t spend because we spend already, then I will lay down only the characteristic to the club.

“If I’m told that a player is expensive, then I will say ‘OK, get me similar’.

“Get me a player who has those characteristics, who can be a playmaker, but who might be a young prospect – someone I can work on, to push for a place and give pressure to the others.

“I want those characteristics – it might have to be a young player, or even a loan.

“But the player needs to be a playmaker, not someone to be part of a three in midfield, but someone who can be the playmaker in a two-man midfield because we want to play with two wide men.

“So they will search for me and they will show me the player and we’ll discuss it and if I look and see the quality I want, I will say OK that’s fine.

“I accept they have to decide on the money side of things but I know the sort of player I want and for me the quality and the character need to be there in that sort of player.”