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De Girolamo hands Sunderland boost in their striker chase

| 17.02.2015

In a season that has seen plenty more downs than ups for Sunderland, the Black Cats may have been given a boost of sorts with long term target Diego De Girolamo confirming he will be on the move this season.

Currently at Sheffield United, the 19-year-old Italy U20 international has reportedly been tracked by the Mackems for months now, with Gus Poyet’s men likely to have competition from a number of Serie A clubs for his signature.

Having netted five times from 14 appearances for parent club Sheffield United and during a loan spell at York City, the youngster has been garnering interest from a variety of outlets.

A very skilful player, with a box of tricks and an excellent eye for goal, the Chesterfield-born striker has already been capped at three different age groups for Italy, the country of his father’s birth.

But despite the bursts of brilliance he has shown in his brief appearances this campaign, it hasn’t been enough to hold down a regular spot at Bramall Lane.

And now it appears he is willing to chance his arm elsewhere, with his contract up at the end of the season.

Blades boss Nigel Clough explained the situation to BBC Radio Sheffield:

“His time here will come to an end when his contract ends. He’s rejected his contract offer and the chance to stay here.

“We felt we had offered him a good deal but I think he feels he will get better opportunities elsewhere”, the 48-year-old added.

Should the forward fancy a switch to Wearside, any deal is likely to go to a tribunal to decide how much compensation the Premier League side must pay his current club.

Sunderland haven’t been averse to splashing the cash on young risks in recent years though.

The likes of Charalampos Mavrias, Ji Dong Won and Connor Wickham all cost the club seven-figure sums when signing for the north-east club before turning 21.

And with the team in dire straits at the moment, many will be hoping De Girolamo’s Stadium of Light experience will be more Wickham than Mavrias.

All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.