Italian icon Paolo Di Canio lasted less than a year at the Stadium of Light as he endured a rough time on Wearside in 2013.
He left Football League outfit Swindon in February 2013 and joined the Black Cats in March. The former West Ham maestro led the Mackems to 17th place in the Premier League in the final seven matches of the 2012/13 campaign, winning two of those games.
Di Canio was then given the opportunity to add to his Sunderland squad in the summer of 2013 and one player he wanted to bring to the club was his fellow countryman Lorenzo Insigne.
Fabio Andreotti, his agent at the time, confirmed that the Black Cats were interested in a deal to sign the Napoli forward. He said: “The Sunderland rumour is true. But Lorenzo wants to stay here, even if it means earning less money.
“His renewal? We just want justice, Napoli still haven’t contacted us, we are waiting for them.
“We have clear ideas and he wants to stay. However, there have been clubs with enough courage to ask Napoli about his asking price.”
At the time, Insigne was valued by Transfermarkt at £9.9m. He ended up staying at Napoli as Di Canio was unable to do enough to tempt him into making the move to Wearside, and his form for the Azzurri over the years has been sublime, making his compatriot’s failure a big blunder.
Jurgen Klopp once dubbed the phenomenon “outstanding” and the player’s statistics back up that praise. In 428 matches for Napoli, he has scored 119 goals and provided 93 assists – including 26 goals and 18 assists in two Serie A campaigns between 2016/17 and 2017/18.
In December 2018, Transfermarkt valued him at a whopping £67.5m. This perfectly illustrates how much he kicked on over the years since Sunderland’s interest and shows the level of player the club missed out upon as they failed to convince him to make the switch to the Stadium of Light.
After failing to land the winger, Di Canio lost four of the first five games of the 2013/14 Premier League campaign and was swiftly relieved of his duties with the club sat at the bottom of the table.
Insigne was one that got away from Sunderland and for the Italian boss, whose blunder played a part in him ultimately losing his job. Who knows what would have happened with Di Canio at the Stadium of Light had he been able to sign Insigne to bolster his squad…