PAOLO DI CANIO wants two full-backs and a midfield playmaker to complete his summer spending spree, writes Chris Young in Hong Kong.
The Sunderland head coach has already added eight signings to his new-look squad, yet he is eager to take that tally into double figures with more than a month remaining of the transfer window.
With Phil Bardsley out of the frame and thought to be heading to Fulham, Di Canio remains without any specialist full-backs to call upon, with neither Danny Rose nor Gino Peruzzi now likely to join Sunderland.
As the Echo revealed online yesterday, Andre Villas-Boas has ruled out Rose returning to the Stadium of Light after last season’s successful loan spree, with the Spurs boss confirming that the England Under-21 international will now be part of the first-team picture at White Hart Lane.
But Peruzzi has now become the latest full-back deal to fall through after Di Canio claimed yesterday that there was “no chance” of the Argentina international joining Sunderland, following problems with his medical.
Sunderland will continue with their efforts to fill both voids, yet Di Canio has also revealed he is on the look-out for a creator in the middle of the park to become the linchpin of the side.
That will still be the case even if midfielder Alfred N’Diaye remains at the Stadium of Light, with Eskiehirspor hoping to take the January signing back to Turkey.
Di Canio told the Echo: “We need two full-backs to challenge for places and one central midfield player.
“We don’t know what will happen with Alfred yet. There is a process.
“But even if he doesn’t leave, in my opinion we need a specific player with specific characteristics in there.
“In the way I want to play, I want someone in the middle who can play with Cabral, Seb (Larsson) or even Alfred.
“Someone who brings the keys to the house - an intelligent player with fantastic ability.
“The board knows we are working for two full-backs too. That doesn’t mean they will play regular football, but we need the cover to create the competition.”
Villas-Boas’ statement on Rose was predictable, with Sunderland given no encouragement this summer in their hopes of re-signing last season’s Young Player of the Year.
“It is one of those cases where a loan has worked out extremely well for him and he will definitely be part of our squad this season,” said the Spurs boss.
But the collapse of Peruzzi’s £3million switch from Velez Sarsfeld is far more of a blow.
Velez issued a statement on Monday suggesting Peruzzi would join Sunderland next week after undergoing a second medical with the Black Cats, in Italy.
But Di Canio countered that notion here in Hong Kong yesterday by declaring that Sunderland couldn’t afford to take a chance on an injured player.
It is understood that there is a slight chance that the deal could be resurrected if Sunderland’s medical concerns are addressed.
Yet the Sunderland boss was relatively unequivocal in his stance over Peruzzi when asked directly about the 22-year-old.
“At the moment, there is no chance for Gino Peruzzi to join us,” said Di Canio.
“My club is not a club that can sign players with some problems.
“We are not Manchester City who can think about buying a talented player with an injury and wait for him.
“We are not very late (in the transfer window) but I would like a player ready to join the rest of the group, because the process of integration is not just physical.”