PAOLO DI CANIO admits he “can’t wait” to stamp his mark on Sunderland’s squad this summer.
Di Canio has revelled in his first taste of the Premier League dug-out after steering Sunderland to Premier League survival in his seven games in charge of the Black Cats.
But the head coach has been hampered, both by a desperate lack of numbers at his disposal and the indiscipline which he has perceived in the squad.
The clear-out is underway with out-of-contract duo Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon departing, while Phil Bardsley is expected to be offloaded after being left out of Sunderland’s final game at Spurs as a disciplinary measure.
To replenish his options, Di Canio is hopeful of adding at least six summer signings to a squad which has been reduced to the bare bones since his appointment.
And that prospect of reshaping the side is one which Di Canio is already salivating over.
“I was happy before, but you can imagine how happy I’ll be if we can get the right players,” he said.
“I can’t wait, because, as a manager, if you have the chance to build a team and choose the right individuals, that makes you excited.
“I’m already starting to think how to link things in situations and bring out the potential of players so they can express their football better.
“It’s a good job and one I love.”
Di Canio’s iron-fisted approach to discipline has dominated the headlines this week and will remain a key ingredient of his managerial approach next season.
But the Italian is also keen to see Sunderland playing with some style.
Points, rather than panache, have been Di Canio’s over-riding concern since succeeding Martin O’Neill with just seven weeks of the campaign remaining.
Yet Di Canio wants Sunderland to have a clear strategy and style to their game from next season.
“Obviously discipline is a big part of it and it’s something important that I want to see from the team,” he added.
“But I want to see quality next year, with the team playing good football.
“You will see a different team for sure. You will see a clear identity in the future.”
H Sunderland defender Titus Bramble is leaving the Stadium of Light when his contract expires next month.
Bramble’s three-year deal with the Black Cats is due to reach an imminent conclusion and Sunderland are not thought to have made any attempt to negotiate a new one for one of the club’s top earners.
And the 31-year-old, who has not featured since Paolo Di Canio took charge, suggested on Twitter that his time on Wearside was up.
“I’ve had a great three years and would like to thank every #SAFC fan for the support they have shown,” he said.
“The NE is a special place to play and will always be close to my heart. I wish the club and my teammates all the best for the future.”
Former Newcastle centre-half Bramble arrived in a £1million deal from Wigan in the summer of 2010 and initially impressed under Steve Bruce.
But Bramble was hampered by a series of knee problems which restricted him to 42 Premier League starts during his Sunderland tenure.
As the Echo revealed earlier this week, there is interest from America’s Major League Soccer to take Bramble across the Atlantic on a free transfer.