Sunderland’s transfer activity not affected by De Fanti departure

Roberto De Fanti.
Roberto De Fanti.
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ROBERTO De Fanti’s sacking as Sunderland’s director of football will have no effect on the club’s efforts to sign or sell players this month..

The Echo understands that plans are already heavily advanced on the Black Cats’ list of targets and nothing in the January window was hinging on the Italian’s involvement.

Chief executive Margaret Byrne will continue, as in previous windows, working on contracts and negotiations, while head coach Gus Poyet has been very hands on in terms of the choice and pursuit of new players.

De Fanti’s dismissal yesterday was news to the Uruguayan.

Poyet was not involved in the decision, which was that of owner Ellis Short and his alone.

It was the American who appointed De Fanti as Sunderland’s first director of football 10 months ago after growing disillusioned with what he saw as a lack of precision in recruitment and a lack of value for money in the transfer market with the funds he had made available.

Director of football De Fanti and fellow Italian, head coach Paolo Di Canio, were supposed to usher in a new era of efficiency and excellence on and off the pitch.

But Di Canio was sacked in September and De Fanti has now followed as the repercussions of a disastrous summer transfer window continue to be dealt with.

The Black Cats allowed key players like Simon Mignolet and Stephane Sessegnon to leave but failed to cash in on a £5m offer for misfit Ji Dong-won which has cost the club dearly.

In addition, few of the 14 signings made last summer proved to be anywhere near the calibre needed to take the club forward.

And it is for that reason, after long consideration that the club decided to relieve him of his duties.

Former football agent De Fanti’s departure does not necessarily mean Sunderland will abandon the director of football model and Gwyn Williams, Leeds United’s former technical director and the man who brought Gus Poyet to England when he was Chelsea’s chief scout, has already been mentioned as a possible replacement.

But Sunderland are reviewing the situation and that is likely to mean that the role of current chief scout Valentino Angeloni - the last of the decision-making triumvirate which included De Fanti and Di Canio - will inevitably come under scrutiny.

The likelihood is that ex-Udinese and Inter Milan chief scout will also follow his countrymen out of the club in the near future.

Meanwhile Sunderland will continue to push ahead in the transfer market undeterred with the Black Cats hoping to complete the signing of Estudiantes centre-half Santiago Vergini in the next 48 hours.

Vergini has flown over to England and Poyet is hopeful but no-one is taking anything for granted after last summer when Vergini’s countryman Gino Peruzzi flew to the North East but failed a medical.

Should Vergini sign, he will join left-back Marcos Alonso as a January arrival with Poyet planning potentially three or four more before the window closes.