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Exclusive: Giulianelli on Dzeko, Giaccherini, Borini, SAFC & More

Roker Report talks to Emanuele Giulianelli about all things Italy, Sunderland and England. Will Italy win Euro 2016? Will Sunderland sign Edin Dzeko? Will Fabio Borini or Vito Mannone star in Russia 2018 and where on earth is Giaccherini heading?

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Emanuele Giulianelli is an Italian football writer and journalist, he is a columnist for Tribal Football and a contributor for FIFA Weekly, FourFourTwo, La Gazzetta dello Sport and Il Messaggero.

He’s a transfer guru, the man behind the rumours. He called Granit Xhaka to Arsenal weeks before it happened and he is the man on the pulse over Edin Dzeko news. If you follow footy gossip you’ll have heard his name or read his work.

You can follow him on twitter @EmaGiulianelli - keep an eye out for his #askema sessions.

Roker Report managed to nab him for a little chat over Anglo-Italian footballing news, Sunderland bits and bobs and how he thinks Conte’s Italy will fare against Germany tonight and, if they win, the rest of the tournament.

Your latest information indicated Inter would be in pole position to sign Edin Dzeko but there are some suggestions that the player wishes to stay at Roma. Any further thoughts or when do you think his future will be sorted out?

The situation of Edin Dzeko isn’t very clear, yet. The Bosnian striker has had a difficult season in Roma, where he had been greeted as the potential heir of Batistuta, the striker with 20 goals in his style; but, for many reasons, he hasn’t been able to show completely his skills. His agent has revealed that Edin wants to remain in Roma to have a chance of revenge, to have a chance to show to Roma supporters that their enthusiasm for his arrival wasn’t wasted in vain. But Luciano Spalletti doesn’t seem to be convinced to keep on with him; and the impression is that, with the right offer, the club will let him go. Where? It’s not a secret that Roberto Mancini dotes on him and that the two met on holidays in Spain.

Knowing that Dzeko is in theory saleable, Sunderland have submitted an offer to Roma and to the player, but, at the moment, he doesn’t seem to be inclined to accept. This is not because he doesn’t like the option Sunderland or Premier League in general, but because his first option (if he should have been sold) is Inter. So his future will depend on Inter.

If you had to predict, where do you see Emanuele Giaccherini playing next season?

That's not easy to answer. At the present moment, Bologna would like very much to have him again, after the great spell he had there last season. In Italy even Fiorentina are interested; but the main rival could be Chelsea.

If Conte will decide to call Giaccherini, he would fly to him in one second. And this one seems to be the most likely destination of Giacch.

Antonio Conte appears to be a genius; do you think Italy will beat Germany at their own game on Saturday night – being well organised, defensively sound and attacking swiftly with well drilled moves? Or are Italy something different to that entirely?

To use a pun, Italy can beat Germany if they play as Italy play. With character, a well organised defence and without hesitations; but, above all, with the great motivations and the awareness of being capable to beat everyone. And this one has been the real masterwork of Antonio Conte, having given to a team lacking of the world stars that Italy used to have, the attitude, the mentality of a great team.

If Italy beat Germany, will they win the tournament?

With the premises of the last question, I can tell you immediately: yes, they can.

Sunderland AFC sometimes seem to suffer an image problem in England, do you think Sunderland suffer from an image problem in Italy? I’m thinking the unsavoury Adam Johnson case made world headlines, but also our messing about with Ricardo Alvarez and apparent inability to use the talents of Emanuele Giaccherini effectively; do you think this is the case or are we, as I also suspect, simply not even noticed?!

I think the second option. In the sense that, in Italy, Sunderland are not among the teams our media use to write and speak about; we follow them only to update on the performances of Giaccherini. The attitude of Italian press towards foreign clubs is often based on the nobility of the team; but this attitude can change in two possible circumstances. The first one is if the club buy Italian players (above all of good level); the second one is if the club have a surprising season, like what happened with Leicester.

Many of us grew up with a generation of top Italians illuminating the English Premier League; Zola, Vialli, Di Matteo and Ravanelli. Suddenly, they’ve stopped coming. The ones who do succeed are quite ‘English’ in their background and style of play. Mannone and Borini were schooled as young players at English clubs, Graziano Pelle was raised partly in the Dutch leagues. Is it the style of play which doesn’t suit Italian footballers or something different?

I think that there is even another aspect of the issue: the current generation of Italian players doesn’t seem to be able to produce shining talent as we used to do in the past. And that is for many reasons, but I don’t want to annoy you talking about this. This crisis of talents, inevitably, influence the quality of the players we export to Premier League.

What do you think of the prospects for Mannone and Borini for Russia 2018?

There aren't likely to be many, if any, chances for them.

Did Italian football fans laugh at England being knocked out by Iceland? And not just ‘knocked out’ but humiliated?

They didn’t laugh, because in Italy we have great respect for those who invented our beloved sport, the most important diversion in the world. But, sympathy for Iceland yes, a lot, as the underdogs rise sometimes (see Leicester again).

Any other gossip or news you could share that our Sunderland fans would find interesting?!

Sunderland are strongly interested in Diafra Sakho for their attack, but West Ham have to sign a new striker before selling him. Zaza could be the man for the Hammers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sunderland join the list of the suitors for Graziano Pellé.

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