Italian keen to stay at Sunderland as another edges closer to exit

Going: Jack Colback could be heading for Newcastle

Going: Jack Colback could be heading for Newcastle

First published in Sport

SUNDERLAND’S Emanuele Giaccherini has insisted he is willing to stay on Wearside despite ongoing interest in taking him back to Italy from Napoli.

Giaccherini’s £8m switch from Juventus last summer has not gone to plan and Serie A clubs have explored the possibility of ending his one-year stay in the Premier League.

But, despite being overlooked by his country for the World Cup, the creative midfielder is not willing to take a pay cut to turn his back on Sunderland where he claims to still have ambitions to succeed.

Speaking on Italian radio when he was asked to comment on Napoli’s reported interest in signing him before the action restarts in August, Giaccherini distanced himself from such a move.

He said: “What would I say if Napoli called me? They are a big club and one of the best in Italy but I have a long term contract here (at Sunderland).

“I don’t know whether in Italy they could guarantee me what I earn in England. I am happy at Sunderland and I will be staying here.”

Giaccherini has only shown flashes of the player that was an influential part of Juventus’ squad before being sold to Sunderland. He has struggled to hold down a first team shirt under Gustavo Poyet, despite the manager regularly revealing an admiration for him.

Poyet hopes to see more from him next season, although the Uruguayan knows he must find a suitable role in his side after Giaccherini outlined a wish to play behind the striker.

More often than not he has been used out wide during his time in the North-East, which was also the role he tended to impress in during his time in Turin. He has, however, failed to hit the same heights.

Giaccherini’s teething problems in England have seen him drop out of contention for a World Cup spot, despite featuring regularly in qualification and being part of Italy’s Confederations Cup squad last year.

He said: “I will always thank Cesare Prandelli for the opportunities he has given me. Now I will stay at home and support Italy – that’s fine.”

Offloading Giaccherini is not one of Poyet’s priorities and the Sunderland boss has already made progress on the recruitment front after landing Billy Jones and Jordi Gomez as free agents.

Retaining the services of Seb Larsson, who has signed a new three-year deal, was also seen as a crucial agreement to broker.

But Sunderland are growing increasingly concerned that midfielder Jack Colback will head for Tyneside. The 24-year-old is wanted by West Ham and Newcastle and the latter have emerged as the front-runners to do a deal. A decision is expected when he returns from honeymoon next week.

Newcastle are confident of announcing a transfer deal soon, although the identity of the player involved remains unclear. Colback and Tenerife’s Ayoze Perez are the likeliest recruits, although they are known to be interested in Ajax’s Siem De Jong and Montpellier’s Remy Cabella.

Sunderland, meanwhile, have confirmed a pre-season trip to Portugal this summer. The squad will be based at a training complex in the Algarve from July 28-August 3 and will play three matches, but their opponents have not been finalised.

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