How an old grudge helped Sunderland beat Benitez to their star summer signing

Napoli

Emmanuele Giaccherini could have been on his way to Napoli this summer - if it were not for a grudge stemming from his Juventus switch.

Not many Premier League teams have been as busy as Sunderland have this summer.

Paolo di Canio has led an entire revamp of the first-team squad at the Stadium of Light over the past couple of months - with as many as nine players arriving and 10 leaving the club.

Their biggest signing has to be that of Italian international Emanuele Giaccherini. After his performance at the Confederations Cup for the Azzurri this summer he is bound to be a player who features in many a dream team in 2013-14.

At 28-years-old he is an experienced operator as well as a talented one. Last season he played 25 times for the Serie A champions and has made 14 caps for his national team.

But it seems not everyone advised him to join his countryman in the North East this summer.

Footballer’s agents are supposed to advise their players as to the best move for their future - and Furio Valcareggi, Giaccherini’s agent, certainly felt he should have gone elsewhere.

He tried his utmost to earn his client a move to Italian rivals Napoli this summer.

But a deal never happened that would have seen Giaccherini play under Rafa Benitez - because of, what seems to be, politics.

Here is what Valcareggi had to say:

“I proposed Giaccherini to Napoli,” he told Radio Kiss Kiss. “But [Napoli director, Riccardo] Bigon refused. All this dates back to before he signed for Juventus. Emanuele decided to go to Juve, and everything changed.”

Before becoming a Juve player the tricky winger had helped Cesena climb from Italy’s third tier all the way to Serie A in just two seasons.

That obviously earned him plenty of admirers - two of which were Juventus and Napoli.

In the end Giaccherini chose to join up with the Turin side - leaving the Partenopei licking their wounds of rejection.

It seems that rather than jump at the chance to snap up a player they missed out on in 2011 they instead held a grudge.

Not that Sunderland fans will mind - because he looks like being one of their star players in the 2013-2014 campaign.

image: © luigig

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch