PAOLO DI Canio is eager for Sunderland to play a more attacking brand of football next season.
The Wearsiders managed to net eight goals in Di Canio’s seven games in charge at the end of last term – a tally which proved to be sufficient in emerging victorious from the relegation scrap.
But the Black Cats head coach wants to a develop a side that is capable of both counter-attacking and putting the opposition on the back foot, when he begins his first full campaign in charge at the Stadium of Light in August.
Di Canio said: “Yes, I want to attack. I don’t want to see my team stay too deep.
“We know you have to defend because there are many top sides in the Premier League.
“But we also need the quality to put the opponents in their own half during the game and play football, not just counter-attack.
“The best teams can counter with three passes and you need that.
“But I want a mix of football – a team capable of keeping the opposition in their own half, damaging them with movement, quality and intelligent play, and also to counter.
“It means we need to have quality, athleticism and intelligence.
“It’s not easy, but I’m sure we can be that team.”
Sunderland’s attacking threat should be boosted by fresh additions to their striking ranks this summer.
Livorno frontman Paulinho has been linked heavily in the Italian press over the last week, although Sampdoria remain in pole position to snap ip the Brazilian.
Reports in Italy suggest that Sampdoria were close to agreeing a deal worth over £4million for the 27-year-old, who helped Livorno to promotion to Serie A through the play-offs last week.
But Livorno are rumoured to have upped the price to a figure closer to the £10m mark – one which will almost certainly put Sunderland out of the running, as the Black Cats’ director of football-elect Roberto De Fanti looks for cost-effective signings on the Continent.
Di Canio is keen to have five strikers at his disposal for the new season though and that is likely to force any potential suitors for Sunderland’s existing frontmen to play a waiting game.
The Echo revealed yesterday how Sheffield Wednesday were monitoring Connor Wickham’s situation, with a view to potentially re-signing the England Under-21 frontman on loan.
And Middlesbrough today emerged as a possible destination for Danny Graham, with the 27-year-old yet to break his Sunderland duck after his £5m January move from Swansea City.
The Teessiders tried to gazump Sunderland’s move for Graham on transfer deadline day, but ex-Boro youngster Graham was not willing to contemplate dropping down to the Championship.
Despite the barren start to his Black Cats career, that is likely to remain the case for Graham, who has also been linked with a move to newly-promoted Cardiff City.