SAFC 10 YEARS ON: Keane’s deal, Iuliano to sign?

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MONDAY, AUGUST 28 2006

ROY’S IN: Roy Keane has agreed a three-year deal to become the Black Cats’ new manager.

The Irishman was poised to sign a £2million-a-year contract after watching Sunderland’s match against West Bromwich Albion at the Stadium of Light.

The former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland captain met the Sunderland players at the Academy of Light training ground yesterday.

A club statement said: “Keane and the club have agreed terms for him to be appointed as manager and it is envisaged that he will sign a formal contract immediately after Sunderland’s game against West Brom.”

Keane, 25, will take over as manager from chairman Niall Quinn, but he faces a busy first week in the job – he has until Thursday, when the transfer window shuts, to bring in new players.

It is reported that Keane will have between £15million and £20million to spend on new players.

Although Keane was expected to be in the crowd at today’s visit to West Brom, there will be no public announcement and the Echo understands he will not be paraded on the pitch before kick-off.

Sunderland have no game this weekend because of internationals, so Keane’s first match in charge will be away to Derby County on Saturday week.

Keane’s name has been linked to Sunderland since the Drumaville consortium took over the club at the end of June.

ROY KEEN TO MAKE HIS MARK: Italian defender Mark Iuliano could become Roy Keane’s first signing as Sunderland manager.

Keane, who will sign up as the new Black Cats boss after today’s game against West Brom at the Stadium of Light, met the team squad at the Academy of Light yesterday.

And the Manchester United legend has no doubt already turned his attention towards improving that squad before this week’s transfer deadline.

He has been strongly linked with top class former Juventus defender Mark Iuliano, who Keane tusselled with several times in Champions League games.

The 33-year-old centre-half is a free agent after parting company with Italian side Sampdoria this summer and, although the player has been sourced by Niall Quinn, the prospective signing is said to have the approval of Keane.

Iuliano was a first team player for Juventus for almost a decade during which time the Italian giants claimed the Serie A title on four occasions. He has also played World Cup football for Italy.

The only question mark over him would be his general fitness and whether time has taken much of a toll on his abilities.

But the player himself favours England for the final move of his career and the link with Keane could prove to be the key to him moving to Sunderland.

The Black Cats remain lined with Norwich City attacker Leon McKenzie, particularly after the club missed out on Kevin Phillips last week.

HYSEN CAN’T WAIT TO GET STARTED: Tobias Hysen is not fazed by the weight of expectation on struggling Sunderland.

He joins a club that has lost its first five games of the season and is about to appoint a new manager.

The 23-year-old, £1.7million signing from Swedish champions Djurgardens says he can’t wait to get started – hopefully against West Bromwich Albion this afternoon.

Hysen said: “My old home stadium has a 15,000 capacity. It was built for the 1912 Olympics and we get a great atmosphere there, but I have also played in bigger stadiums and I’ve played in big places around Europe.

“The expectation and big crowd at Sunderland doesn’t scare me. Every footballer has to handle the attention that comes with our job.

“I would rather have 50,000 fans watching me than 10,000. It is something I hope will handle and make the best of.

“My first aim here is to play as many games as possible in my first season. This is a big step for me and I will have my ups and downs. Hopefully I will achieve something here.”