clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

See Ya, Giacchy

As Emanuele Giaccherini heads off for a new adventure at Italian giants Napoli, I cannot help but feel that Sunderland really have managed to balls up what should have been a fantastic love affair between the player and our football club.

Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

I know that many of us had a glimmer of hope that Emanuele Giaccherini might be given a second chance to prove himself at Sunderland but, with news emanating from his home country that the Italian international is off to join Champions League regulars Napoli, that thought has become nothing more than wishful thinking.

And let's be honest, on the face of it the tenure of Giaccherini at Sunderland could arguably be viewed as one of the most disappointing pieces of transfer business in the history of our football club.

When he signed back in 2013 we knew that we were getting an international footballer who was a regular under Antonio Conte at Italian champions Juventus, and the excitement was palpable. What we got, sadly, was not what we were expecting - though much of that is through no fault of Giaccherini himself, which is perhaps what makes this all the more frustrating.

Though Emanuele Giaccherini did struggle somewhat with the physicality in England it wasn't as though he suffered badly. You only have to take one look at the way he performed in our great escape run just to see how good he actually is - it feels as though many Sunderland supporters use his size as a cop-out for why he wasn't really a success here, when the truth of the matter, in my opinion, is something completely different.

Giaccherini has been nothing more than a victim of circumstance. Both injuries and bad timing have caused his tenure here to meet a disappointing end.

You see, every team that Emanuele Giaccherini played in at Sunderland battled with relegation and in fairness to him he stepped up when it mattered at the end of the 2013/2014 season, so I don't believe he necessarily struggled to adapt - every player that season was, in the main, poor. He still played his part in some important games, including in the run to the League Cup Final, and the season that followed was nothing more than unfortunate as he spent the majority of it on the treatment table.

As I have already said, he came up with the quality in his first year when it mattered, and had it not been for a series of injuries he would most definitely have played a more crucial role in the season that followed. That said, he was clearly just not fancied by Dick Advocaat - perhaps as the club looked to make room on the wage bill for more players that the Dutchman wanted - and he was loaned out. Who knows what role he might have played if he had been at the club when Sam Allardyce took over last October.

Just about every Sunderland supporter watched Giaccherini turn in outstanding performances for Italy at the European Championships this summer and wondered whether or not his time here was not yet done, but sadly I feel the decision to let him leave had already been made before he even took to the field in Paris. At his age, and with a year left on his deal, Sunderland are always going to look to cash in for him.

Yet, at a time when Sunderland really need an injection of quality and creativity in our squad, we are allowing a proven international footballer to slip through our fingers for what seems a paltry sum of money. On top of that he's going to a club that will be challenging for a league title and playing Champions League football.

I'll be honest, I'm finding that pretty hard to bare. The relationship between Giaccherini and Sunderland really could - and should - have been so, so much better than it has been. Never mind.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report