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Sunderland’s Italian Revolution: Where Are They Now?

Sunderland’s Italian revolution under Roberto De Fanti is now little more than a distant memory, but some interesting news from Italy prompts the question: where are they now?

Roberto De Fanti, Sunderland’s former, and first, Director of Football.

It's a few years now since Sunderland’s football department was given an Italian makeover under Roberto De Fanti. The experiment was cut short and the Director of Football model has now been abandoned completely.

For most of us, the names were unfamiliar and are not ones we have followed since. However, some interesting news from Italy last week made me wonder just what happened to those who attempted to revolutionize our football club.

Massimo Mirabelli

This was the news that caught my eye and prompted this post. Mirabelli, who was part of De Fanti’s team at Sunderland has just landed a somewhat more prestigious job - Sporting Director of AC Milan. The Rossoneri are in the process of a takeover, with the new owners announcing:

SES is pleased to announce that, as of the date of closing (the takeover deal), Massimiliano Mirabelli will join the management team of AC Milan, collaborating directly with the CEO and Director General Marco Fassone in dealing with the sporting area of the side.

SES gives its warmest welcome to Massimiliano and wishes him the best in his work.

Mirabelli's appointment at Milan prompted Roberto De Fanti to comment, and his ex-Sunderland colleague was delighted that his friend had been given a role with the Italian giants. He said:

With Massimo I've known him for some time.

As soon as I had the opportunity to fill the role of Director of Football at Sunderland it seemed a natural choice to entrust to a professional profile of a person of whom I have great esteem.

I was able to get to know Mirabelli during trips abroad that we had together for professional reasons, and the excellent impression that was built was confirmed by the facts from every point of view.

Antonio D’Ottavio

D’Ottavio left Torino, where he was Technical Director, to join Sunderland as a scout under De Fanti and arrived with a good reputation.

That reputation appears to have held steady, with him joining Mirabelli at Milan as his chief scout.

Valentino Angeloni

Angeloni was probably the name most fans remember most as he came with an enviable track record of finding players, with Alexis Sanchez among those he lays close to. Angeloni joined Sunderland on the back of finding success as the head of Udinese's recruitment model, something which earned him a role at Inter Milan before landing on Wearside.

Since leaving Sunderland, Angeleri has been the Technical Director at Fiorentina, who have enjoyed a good time in Serie A in the last couple of years, and he is now occupying the same role at Atalanta, a job he apparently favoured having turned down a role with Sheffield Wednesday this summer.

Paolo Di Canio

Since leaving Sunderland, Di Canio has yet to find himself another job in management.

Despite being linked with a string of lower league jobs recently, no club seems to be open to the idea of giving the fiery Italian another shot - recently the ex-West Ham striker was in the news after being fired from his job with Sky Italia as a pundit after he appeared on live television with a Fascist tattoo on display.

And What Of De Fanti Himself?

De Fanti has brushed off his disappointment at Sunderland and has returned to a more familiar role of representing players as an agent.

He manages a number of players in both Serie A and the Premier League, with Vito Mannone and Fabio Borini being two of his clients - players that he himself originally brought to Sunderland during his spell at the club.

All in all, they still appear to be held in high esteem.

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