Why Sunderland can beat Juventus to Italian youngster De Girolamo

Sunderland Stadium of Light

Gus Poyet is battling with the Italian giants to land the out-of-contract Italy Under-20 international, but here's why he has a chance.

De Girolamo has been on the books at Sheffield United since December 2012, but now, at the age of 19, the Italian is looking to move on to a bigger stage, and leaves having only made two starts for the Blades.

These starts were both in cup competitions, but he did score his first goal when starting the FA Cup replay at Preston for Nigel Clough's cup specialists in January. In two loan spells at League Two York City this season, the youngster has been used sparingly to aid his development, but has four goals from 10 appearances.

Despite a contract offer being tabled from the Bramall Lane club, the Italian turned it down, and with United due a compensation fee because of his age, they are already resigned to losing him.

Sunderland have tracked the youngster for a number of years, per the Shields Gazette, as have Juventus, while De Girolamo has worked his way through the international levels with Italy. An unnamed Spanish club are also said to be waiting in the wings, but Sunderland feel they have an advantage.

De Girolamo was brought up in Derbyshire, hence he was spotted by nearby Sheffield United. This offers an insight into why the youngster is happy to utilise loan spells at York City and continue his football education at League One Sheffield United, rather than be attracted by the lure of the 'Old Lady' of Italian football.

Clearly the youngster has a wise head and is presently being well advised, he also appears comfortable with all levels of English football and keen to prosper within it. It would therefore appear that Sunderland are at the right stage, i.e. the Premier League, and in the right location - the north of England - to broaden De Girolamo's football experience, even if it is at first within the club's development squad.

Sunderland also have two Italian players on their books in goalkeeper Vito Mannone and midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini ensuring a warm welcome at the Stadium of Light for an Anglicised Italian who requires some nurturing. Add to that the success of the well-established academy at Sunderland and it would appear that the Stadium of Light could be the perfect platform for De Girolamo to continue on the road to success.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch