There have been a lot of comings and goings at the Stadium of Light, but to what avail?
Having been brought in to replace Martin O’Neill, the eccentric Italian has had a busy time in the transfer market, in particular on the sheer scale he has transformed his squad.
The Sunderland boss made no fewer than 11 signings this summer as he tries to make life more comfortable for the Black Cats in the division, given it was the two wins immediately following his arrival at the club which justified his appointment and secured their Premier League status for another season.
An article on the Metro website suggests that although Sunderland’s transfer window has been a busy one, it may not have been a successful one.
Now it is if the side has side has started from scratch, with a massive overhaul of the squad, everything rests on Di Canio’s performance – including getting his side to gel and having a better season than last, and importantly no relegation scares.
Two seasons ago Steve Bruce made eight new signings over the summer, and became the first Premier League manager to be sacked as he failed to meet expectation.
After a slow start to the season, it feels already like there is a bit of pressure on Di Canio and Sunderland. Having opened up with a home defeat to Fulham, and conceded a late goal at Southampton to leave with a point (both goals as a result of poor set-piece defending), and then making hard work of a League Cup tie against MK Dons, a couple of questions are emerging?
Has Di Canio tried to change too much too soon? With the massive change of personnel, it seems like he’s trying to revolutionise his squad, rather than trying to make a team evolve into a solid unit.
It would be unfair to criticise individual players at this stage of the season with many of them finding their feet, they need time to adapt to their surroundings, and their new teammates’ and manager’s way of doing things.
Have Sunderland signed the wrong players? Only time will tell on that issue. But it’s logical to think they will have replaced the loan signings last season with something more, like Danny Rose. The article does cite that left-back has been a problem position, and Rose did a decent job for a year. They knew there was a possibility he would go back to Tottenham, so Sunderland have been sluggish at best to address that area.
Striker signing Jozy Altidore is a gamble given his previous failure in the Premier League with Hull, but with his Eredivisie form of last season, and Steven Fletcher already in the ranks, it was one worth taking.
But things aren’t going to happen overnight, and it looks like Di Canio has tried to change things in a very short space of time, and as a result there is a great deal of expectation to address every problem area, what he needs to do is make this current squad gel to avoid any QPR type of situation, and he’ll avoid that by picking up points relatively quickly.
Sunderland fans, how do you feel about the season ahead?
image: © vagueonthehow