Emanuele Giaccherini has recently had fans split on his future with the club, some people don’t rate him and think its time he goes elsewhere, while others think he could be great for us if we just used him properly.
Giaccherini, an attacking midfielder/ central midfielder/ wing back joined the club in the transfer window summer of 2013 under Paolo Di Canio for a sum of £6.5 million from Italian club Juventus. For an attacking midfielder his record of 4 goals in 40 appearances for them wasn’t the best, but he was very highly rated and had 18 caps and 2 goals for his national side of Italy.
On his debut he impressed with fans, people praising him for his work rate and willingness to push forward with striker Jozy Altidore. He played with heart, which was very important to the club. When he scored in only his second game for us, in a 1-1 draw at Southampton, it seemed we had made a good signing to strengthen our midfield. He then scored in a league cup win against Peterborough, and in his next game against Liverpool. He scored the only goal in our 4-1 loss at Arsenal that season too. He then seemed to slump in his ability, taking too much time on the ball, making many mistakes and being knocked off the ball easily. We played him on the wing, which didn’t seem to work for him, and people wanted to see him play in a more 10 role. Because of these weaknesses he seemed to drop out of the team and was a substitute player. By November that year fans were saying he was the worst player on the pitch, being dropped from the team was best for us. He was very clearly not working in the position we were playing him on the left wing. However some fans still praised him for his determination and want for the ball. Ultimately Gus Poyet, the next manager of the club, decided to leave him out of the team on a regular basis. By this point people were already split by him, some saying he’s awful and some praising him highly, with some even saying they can’t make their minds up as he is awful one second and brilliant the next. He seemed to come back into some form later in the year, when he came on as a substitute against Man City and assisted both of Connor Wickham’s goals to get us a 2-2 draw, and scored in our win against cardiff to see us out of the relegation zone.
The following season he picked up an injury in pre-season which saw him be ruled out of the start of the year. This was the first of his injury troubles, as he came back in september only to get an ankle injury and rule him out for even longer. He then picked up another ankle injury in February which was seemingly the end of his season. Many people then started to see another downside to him, he wasn’t consistent and was prone to injuries. Giving him some credit, he played the final 15 minutes of our last game of the season despite the club saying his season was likely over. In the following transfer window a majority of fans were pleased to see him go out on a season long loan to Bologna ashe was no longer a starter for us and was so prone to injuries, people saw him as a risky player to have. His injury woes continued on his debut for his new club as he was injured after just 28 minutes.
This was seemingly the end of the road for Giaccherini’s career at Sunderland, as he impressed for Bologna following his return from injury, being a crucial party of their team and getting 7 goals in 25 games, it seemed that he may transfer elsewhere when he returned to us for the last year of his contract. However, the Italian man was selected for his national team in the Euro 2016 tournament, and we once again got to see a good player in him. In Italy’s first match of the group stage Giaccherini was able to to score the first goal in their 2-0 win over Belgium, he was named man of the match. This fast paced, hard working goalscorer seemed worlds away from the player Sunderland fans remembered. In all of his games for the side he covered the most ground, playing in midfield but getting back essentially for opposition attacks and getting forward for their own chances. In the round of 16 he once again impressed when he assisted the opening goal for the Italians 2-0 win over defending champions Spain to send them home. The team progressed to the quarterfinals and met up with World Cup winners Germany. In this more technically difficult game Giaccherini didn’t seem to shine as much, but was still able to impress and when the game went to penalties he was able to convert his and give the Italians hope of going through, however it went to sudden death and the Italy team and Giaccherini were sent home.
Fans seemed to be conflicted again, is he really this good, and if he is should we keep him? Some said he is a good player, he just isn’t suited to the style of the Premier League, as he is too small and too slow on the ball. Other said we never used him right and we should give him another chance in his final year with the red and white army, because his performances for one of the best European sides cannot be coincidental, he is clearly a good player. Sam Allardyce will without doubt have been watching him closely, even more so that the deal with Yann M’vila seems to be falling through as he is unwilling to take a pay cut to leave a team that doesn’t want him and that he doesn’t want, to join a team that wants and loves him. If M’vila does not return, could Giaccherini be his replacement? It’s a possibility at the least, a pacy, technical player who works hard going both forward and back could be a great asset to us in the coming season, but many still think it’s time to move on.