Sunderland boss targeting six new signings

BIG MISS ... Steven Fletcher.
BIG MISS ... Steven Fletcher.
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PAOLO Di Canio is hopeful Sunderland can land six new faces during the summer to boost the Black Cats’ threadbare squad.

With Sunderland’s Premier League status assured, attention has immediately turned towards altering the make-up of a side that has flirted with relegation for each of the last two seasons.

Agent and consultant Roberto De Fanti, expected to be confirmed as Sunderland’s new director of football, has been working on potential new recruits for several weeks, with the Black Cats close to sealing a deal for Maritimo defender Valentin Roberge among others.

Since succeeding Martin O’Neill, Di Canio has been operating with a paper thin squad deprived of long-term injury victims Steven Fletcher, Lee Cattermole and Wes Brown before suffering the subsequent loss of Craig Gardner and Stephane Sessegnon to suspension.

Di Canio’s options will be further depleted when on-loan pair Kader Mangane and Danny Rose, ineligible for Sunday’s trip to Spurs, return to their parent clubs during the summer and the contracts of both Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon come to an end.

When asked whether he was looking for six or seven new players, Di Canio replied: “Yes that number could be a right, a bit less or a bit more, it depends. But approximately, the number is right. We will see.

“We need more than a few. I don’t want to say ‘a lot’, because you never know what ‘a lot’ means, but we need to refresh the squad for many reasons.

“We’ve had big problems with injuries and having to play many young players.

“We’ve missed players. On Sunday, we’ll be travelling with four kids, it means we haven’t got many players, especially up front.”

While Di Canio says he is yet to sit down and hold talks with owner Ellis Short, he has discussed transfer targets with both De Fanti and chief executive Margaret Byrne.

“I have already made it clear what I would like,” added DI Canio.

“But I want to focus my attention on the next game.

“It’s clear what I would like to happen, to build a team and play football that the fans will enjoy.”