When Emanuele Giaccherini signed for us from Juventus in the summer of 2013, there was genuine excitement about his arrival. The prospect of bringing in a creative player who was also an Italian international seemed, to fans at least, just the ticket. However, it hasn’t panned out particularly well. Let’s take a brief, candid, look back over Giaccherini’s time with SAFC and ask is the 2015/16 season his last opportunity to shine for the Black Cats?
Where to start? Well, a combination of injuries and lack of form has plagued the 30-year-old midfielder resulting in limited appearances. In fact, although Giaccherini won back to back titles in Turin he played only 8 Premier League games for SAFC last season. Former coach Poyet seemed to be of the belief that Giaccherini was only suited to certain types of matches and wasn’t able to compete in a physical battle, further reducing his game time.
In fairness his quality has revealed itself on occasion but in short tantalising glimpses. Perhaps Giaccherini’s standout goal to date was a low volley from distance against Arsenal in a 4-1 defeat in 2014. However it’s difficult to highlight one game where he truly dictated the play. He also made an appearance as substitute, coming on for Lee Cattermole in the League Cup Final but failed to make any meaningful impact. And that, for an experienced international bringing with him some considerable reputation, is disappointing.
Tracking back to help out the defence isn’t something that he seems at ease with either. Unfortunately given the way we have played at times, the back four have been left exposed and runners have been allowed through on goal. Giaccherini isn’t the man to help out in this regard in the way that Larsson or even Johnson seems to be.
So where does all this leave the former Old Lady star? Frankly, it feels very much like the coming season will be his last chance to demonstrate he can perform in the Premier League on a consistent basis. When Giaccherini signed for SAFC it was understood that his contract was for 4 years. As things stand it’s hard to imagine a new contract being offered.
One recent positive to arise for the Sunderland man is the recall to the Italian squad by his former manager Antonio Conte. Following his long absence through injury Giaccherini made the squad to face Croatia earlier this month in a Euro 2016 qualifier. We hope that this carries some momentum for him through to pre season and that he can emerge as the player we all thought he could be.
If we find ourselves in the same situation come next summer, or even January for that matter, I’m sure Congerton will be looking to move Giaccherini on. However as with most players on sizable salaries this isn’t always an easy task. His continued selection for Italy will keep his stock high though and should the need arise, hopefully, entice clubs to make a suitable offer.
It shouldn’t all be doom and gloom. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what a solid pre season under Dick Advocaat and his backroom staff can get out of the midfielder. If the Little General can have the same positive impact on Giaccherini as he seemingly has had on Coates, we may finally have a real player on our hands. Unfortunately the problem for Giaccherini is the window of time for him to prove his worth to SAFC is shrinking rapidly. With time running out and the Premier League as unforgiving as it is, Giaccherini must start proving he can deliver and there’s no better time to start than Leicester, away on 8th August.