Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio linked with Lazio’s Modibo Diakite and Maritimo’s Valentin Roberge

PAOLO KNOWS BEST: Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio.
PAOLO KNOWS BEST: Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio.

SUNDERLAND are busy lining up potential new signings for next season, on the assumption that the club will stay in the Premier League.

Di Canio said last week that he has not given transfers a second thought as he continues his over-riding mission to save Sunderland’s Premier League skin.

But while that may well be true, it has not stopped the wheels being put into motion behind the scenes.

“I haven’t thought about transfers yet – absolutely nothing,” Di Canio revealed.

“Everything can change at the moment, you can feel safe and then – boom – you can be hit like a hammer.

“So we have to make sure that we are safe first -I can’t think about transfers until then.”

Nevertheless, although Di Canio might not want to think about future rebuilding while he is pre-occupied with the club’s survival mission, that hasn’t stopped targets quietly being identified and examined and the groundwork prepared for potential moves.

Sunderland have been linked since Di Canio’s arrival with Lazio defender Modibo Diakite – though the player’s agent has confirmed there has been no official approach to date - and centre-half Valentin Roberge, who plays for Portuguese side Maritimo.

Both are out of contract in the summer, and would welcome a move to England.

SEE Thursday’s Mail for full story