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Can We Still Get Something Out Of Giaccherini?

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After his goal for Italy against Belgium you just knew this was going to pop up again, didn't you? Emanuele Giaccherini, Sunderland's forgotten man, once again added fuel to the fire that he's a player we've misused and undervalued. Rory Fallow offers his thoughts on the situation.

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The only thing more predictable than Emanuele Giaccherini putting in a great performance for Italy against Belgium was the inevitable cries from Sunderland fans about how Sam Allardyce should try and find a way to accommodate him on Wearside.

It's certainly a valid point though, as his opening goal for Italy further displayed the talent possessed by the former Juventus midfielder.

Has such talent always been as evident in a red and white shirt, though? There has certainly been flashes, most notably during the run of games that saw us clinch survival in 2013/14. It may have been Connor Wickham who stole the headlines around that time but Giaccherini's contribution shouldn't be overlooked, as he assisted Wickham for both goals against Manchester City and another against Cardiff City, when he also got on the scoresheet himself.

Despite the surge in form though, something that hadn't been seen since the early stages of the campaign where Giaccherini was one of few shining lights in a dark period, the Italian still wasn't making Gus Poyet's starting eleven. You would have thought Giaccherini's neat passing ability would have endeared him to Poyet, but doubts over his physicality, against mean Premier League defenders, and not being a good fit for the rigid 4-3-3 system put doubts in the mind of the manager.

That being said, it wasn't Gustavo's fault that Wearside Giacch saw his 2014/15 season fall apart. A couple of serious ankle injuries severely limited his time on the field and fans began to wonder if we'd ever see the player we'd seen offer brief bursts of form, for a sustained period of time. Lee Congerton and Dick Advocaat certainly felt it was time to cut our losses on one of the clubs big earners and a deal was struck for Giaccherini to return home, for one season at least, as he signed on loan for Bologna.

The murmurings of "Should we give Giaccherini another chance?" started rumbling during the second half of last season, as not a weekend seemed to go by without us seeing GIF after GIF of a well taken goal or tidy little assist.

Such things also get heightened when you're a struggling team and failing to kill games off, yet here's a player we've sent out on loan who is clearly capable of unlocking a defence and causing opposition teams damage.

It is, of course, not that simple though as where would Giacch fit into Sam Allardyce's Sunderland?

Going off last season's set up, he wouldn't be the type of player Big Sam would fancy in his midfield trio and we've already seen how he struggles to play on the wing in a similar system. The best way for a team like Sunderland to accommodate Giaccherini would probably be in the number 10 role in a 4-2-3-1 but, if we were to go to that system, it would be Wahbi Khazri who you'd expect to see operating there.

It all adds fuel to the argument that Giaccherini just isn't a good fit for Sunderland. He's clearly a talented player, but is probably a luxury we can't afford. I'd love to see Sam Allardyce prove me wrong, as seeing Giaccherini fulfill the potential he arrived at Sunderland with would be very satisfying.

I won't hold my breath though, as he seems willing to end his time at the Stadium of Light, with plenty of available suitors sniffing around him. Bologna seem open to making his transfer a permanent one, whilst Antonio Conte is reportedly interested in bringing him to Chelsea when he takes over after the European Championships.

Should he be shown the door, there will always be a feeling of "what if?" Did we undervalue and under-use a very gifted player, or were we too blinded by the beauty on the surface to realise there were underlying problems, that meant it was a relationship that would never work?

Hopefully we aren't about to let something special walk away so easily.