Sunderland set to introduce a Director of Football - but Di Canio determined to have a say in transfers (From The Northern Echo)
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Sunderland set to introduce a Director of Football - but Di Canio determined to have a say in transfers
SUNDERLAND are set to appoint a director of football this summer, but new boss Paolo Di Canio insists he will still have a major say in the club's transfer policy.
Di Canio was described as a "head coach" when he was appointed at the weekend, and while the phrase is commonly used on the continent, it is not a coincidence that the Sunderland hierarchy used it in relation to the Italian.
Black Cats owner Ellis Short is known to be frustrated at the failings of the club's recruitment under both Martin O'Neill and Steve Bruce, and is poised to oversee a radical overhaul of the scouting and signing systems in the close season.
The American is keen to move towards a more continental model where the manager or head coach does not have complete control over who is identified as a target and potentially signed.
As a result, he is understood to be keen to introduce a director of football-style figure, who will head the off-field operations while Di Canio devotes the majority of his attention to the training ground.
The model bears similarities to the system that has been introduced at Newcastle United in the last few seasons, and the disparity between the price the Magpies have been paying for their signings and the fees that Short shelled out under O'Neill are clearly a major factor in the London-based businessman's decision to initiate a reform.
Di Canio is aware of the impending reshuffle, but is adamant he will continue to be heavily involved in the recruitment process.
The Italian adopted a hands-on approach to sales and signings during his time at Swindon Town, and is reluctant to hand complete control of such a key area to a figure installed above him.
"I said to the board when they asked me if I wanted to be called 'manager' that I prefer to work on the field," said Di Canio, whose first game in charge of Sunderland will see him take his side to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Sunday. "I am a coach, I am a teacher of football.
"It is not an issue if I am manager or not manager. In the future, when we are talking about signing footballers and the system I am going to use, then obviously I will ask for the players I want to have.
"It's only what we decided to write down, so we decided head coach because I feel like a coach. I like to be with my players every single minute on the training field.
"I am not a typical manager that has an assistant that does the coaching for him. I work with my players every single second on the field, in every single day during the week.
"I know how I want to play in the future and what system I want to use. I want to play attractive football and get in a better position than we are in now.
"In the future, of course I will ask for which players I want to have if it is possible, then I'll hope to get them."
* Sunderland supporters are reminded there will be no cash turnstiles in operation at Stamford Bridge.
A small number of tickets are still available over telephone on 0871 911 1973 or in person at the Stadium of Light ticket office until 4pm on Friday, April 5.
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