GUS POYET admits fit-again Emanuele Giaccherini has been a big miss for Sunderland after brushing off fresh speculation over the Italian’s future.
Napoli became the latest Serie A outfit to be linked with taking Giaccherini back to his homeland earlier this week after reports in Italy emerged over interest in a January loan move for the 29-year-old.
However, Giaccherini’s agent, Furio Valcareggi, subsequently claimed that while he had spoken with Napoli, there was little prospect of any deal happening, while Sunderland boss Poyet has now poured cold water on the speculation.
Poyet expected Giaccherini to play a key role for Sunderland this season, but the former Juventus man suffered a groin strain on the eve of the campaign before sustaining an ankle injury in September’s draw at Burnley which has sidelined him for the last two months.
But Giaccherini will return to full training next week and Poyet still sees the £6million midfielder as playing a key role for the Black Cats.
Poyet said: “I think it was a bit confusing at the beginning of the season last year after everything happened, following a big move for him.
“Coming from Italy to here was a big change, and with all respect to everybody, from a team who was winning the league to a team that was fighting relegation.
“He had to adapt. A very small player adapting to a very physical league. He took his time.
“With me, he didn’t play a lot, but he knew he was getting better and understanding better.
“I said in the summer that when he came back, it was like ‘Oh my God, this might be our best signing’.
“But football is crazy when players get injured.
“We’ve missed him a little bit and we’re really looking forward to having him fit, and Ricky Alvarez fully fit.
“They’ll give us options in different games.”
There was intense speculation over Giaccherini’s future during the summer with several Italian clubs sniffing around, yet he immediately told Poyet that he wanted to prove himself at the Stadium of Light.
And despite talk over Napoli’s interest this week, Poyet claims there has been no contact between the two clubs.
“As soon as the rumours came out in the summer, he came to see me and he was very clear that it was nothing to do with him,” added the Uruguayan.
“There are things that players can control, and other things they can’t.
“There’s been nothing (to the new speculation).”