Emanuele Giaccherini joins elite Sunderland group after Euro 2016 goal
In Sam Allardyce's daunting deed to offload Sunderland's dead-wood, Emanuele Giaccherini promises to be one of the easier players to move on this summer.
Giaccherini’s contract at the Stadium of Light is hefty - around the £40,000 a week mark - and he has just turned 31, but there are no shortage of suitors for him.
A gaggle of Italian clubs are hovering for a player who continued to prove his suitability in Serie A last season and has an asking price which is a modest £2million.
That fee might just have crept up after last night though. Giaccherini’s opening goal, and all-round display in an excellent Italian performance against Belgium, highlighted the ex-Juventus man’s prowess when deployed in the right way.
Giaccherini shone and those lining up to sign him on a permanent basis this summer cannot have failed to take note.
On the back of such a display, the question is inevitably asked over whether he could get a chance under Allardyce after predecessor Dick Advocaat was the one who conceded that he just wasn’t physically suited to Premier League football.
But it’s highly unlikely, even if Allardyce is keen to bring in an attacking midfielder / winger this summer.
With just one year remaining on Giaccherini’s contract, it makes financial sense for Sunderland to cash-in now, and it is footballing logic too after he never really convinced that he could thrive in English football, despite his evident quality.
However, while he remains a Sunderland player, Giaccherini joins a relatively exclusive club of Black Cats who have found the net at a major championships.
Seb Larsson - one of three Sunderland players in action at Euro 2016 yesterday - netted a last-gasp winner against France at the last European Championships, while Cristian Riveros scored for Paraguay at the 2010 World Cup.
Riveros hadn’t actually pulled on a red and white shirt at that stage (ultimately, he didn’t do that very often anyway...) but his move from Mexican club Cruz Azul had been announced a month earlier.
Even Sunderland’s most deadly duo of Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn found the net on the biggest international stages just once between them - and that was before the latter had arrived at Roker Park.
Phillips was an unused substitute in England’s three group games at Euro 2000, despite lifting the Golden Boot after his scoring feats in a red and white shirt.
And Quinn’s only tournament goal for Ireland came in the 1990 World Cup, while he was still a Manchester City striker.
Sunderland’s international contingent haven’t even fared any better in front of goal when faced with a penalty shoot-out - Kevin Kilbane missing from the spot during Ireland’s 2002 World Cup elimination against Spain.
However, with Italy facing Sweden on Friday, both Giaccherini and Larsson have the chance to become the first Sunderland player to take their tournament tally to two.
Another Giaccherini goal and his price-tag might well go up even more.