Sunderland A.F.C. winger Emanuele Giaccherini has insisted he is ‘happy’ at the club despite not featuring in the English Premier League since New Year’s Day.
The Italy international, 28, joined the Black Cats from Italian champions Juventus in a shock €7.5 million deal in the summer but has failed to live up to high expectations at the Stadium of Light.
With Adam Johnson and Fabio Borini currently keeping Giaccherini out of the first-team, the 28-year-old has been relegated to cup duty since the turn of the year.
He last played on the 15th of February against Southampton in the FA Cup. Apparently the 28-year-old is good enough for the Azzurri but not for Sunderland, who are in the relegation zone at the moment.
However, despite his lack of first-team opportunities, Giaccherini has moved to play down speculation linking him with a summer exit from Wearside by revealing he is happy to fight for his place in the starting XI.
“I want to stay here. I’m happy here,” Giaccherini told the Sunderland Echo.
“The gaffer has to do what he thinks is right and choose the best team.
“It’s important that I train well and make the most of my chance when he asks me to start.
“Borini and Johnson have both been playing well too.
“The important thing is Sunderland, not me.”
Sunderland (6-6-13) — priced at 19/10 to be relegated from England’s top-flight — will travel to North London to face second-placed Arsenal at the weekend, while the Capital One Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley is scheduled for 2 March.
Shola Ameobi hints at ‘sad’ exit
Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi has admitted he is likely to leave the club in the near future.
Ameobi, 32, joined the Magpies’ youth academy in July 1995 and went on to make his first-team debut against Chelsea on 9 September 2000.
Over the past 14 seasons, the Nigeria international has bagged a total of 39 goals in 221 Premier League games for Newcastle United.
“After the summer, my future is unclear,” Ameobi told the Shields Gazette.
“Basically, I’ll do what I’ve always done. Like I’ve always said, I’ve never taken it (playing for Newcastle) for granted. Every time I step on that pitch, I relish it.
“When it does finally end, it’ll be a sad moment, but at the moment my focus is trying to help this club.
“That’s what I’ve always tried to do, and that will never change.”
Ameobi, almost a lock to be named to Nigeria’s squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil this summer, has been linked with a summer move to Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F in recent times.
The 32-year-old’s compatriot and Nigeria team-mate Yakubu Aiyegbeni spent two seasons at Guangzhou R&F (2012-13) before signing for Qatari side Al Rayyan in January.