GUS POYET expects Emanuele Giaccherini to still be at Sunderland next year, despite this season proving to be a write-off for the Italian international.
Giaccherini will miss the final three months of the campaign after being forced to undergo surgery on the ankle problem which he re-injured in the FA Cup victory at Fulham earlier this month.
The idea for him is to come back next pre-season the same way he did this year.Gus Poyet
The 29-year-old has been limited to just four starts in his second season at the Stadium of Light after a brace of ankle injuries, plus a groin strain, which kept him out at the start of the campaign.
Those injuries have prevented Giaccherini making the desired impact after an inconsistent opening 12 months on Wearside, following a £7million move from Juventus.
And while that has inevitably prompted the stream of speculation over a return to Serie A to continue, Sunderland boss Gus Poyet doesn’t expect Giaccherini to be offloaded.
When asked if he thought Giaccherini will stay, Poyet said: “Yes for many reasons.
“I thought he was ready this year and I’m disappointed that we lost him.
“We wish him well.
“The idea for him is to come back next pre-season the same way he did this year.”
Poyet had expected big things for Giaccherini this season after catching the eye during Sunderland’s pre-season programme.
And the head coach sympathises with how injuries have hijacked the campaign for the midfielder, who has been determined to prove his credentials in the Premier League.
Poyet added: “It’s hard to take. It’s even sad.
“I know people will think I’m trying to be too emotional here, but it’s the truth, especially if you know Giaccherini as a person and how much he’s willing to give back to the club for giving him the opportunity to play in England.
“The first season was difficult. We all know how difficult it was last year.
“Because of that, he missed a place in the World Cup squad, but he didn’t change. He trained very hard during the time-off.
“When he came back last summer, he was like a new player.
“He’d had the year in England already, so he had the knowledge of the football.
“It was a new start for him, with better English.
“And he was incredible in pre-season. He was impressive.
“Then when he started playing, he got injured.
“When he came back, it was tough. He came back slowly, then played his best game again against Fulham and got injured again.
“You don’t realise how the season can go past and then you’re out.”