Niall Quinn believes Sunderland can learn from near rivals Newcastle in implementing a defined transfer strategy.
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Quinn himself spent time as sunderland chairman during a period that saw the club earn promotion from the Championship and establish themselves in the Premier League, but he left in the wake of Martin O’Neill’s appointment.
Black Cats owner Ellis Short has now implemented a more European model and Quinn has credited his successor for backing Paolo Di Canio.
“Paolo has brought his own people in,” Quinn told the Sunderland Echo. “He’s moulding the team his way and the chairman has backed him, which is so important.
“He’s not hamstrung, he can go and develop the club the way he wants. It might just be what Sunderland need. I for one hope it goes really well. It’s totally different to when I was there. It’s a different model, a different platform.
“We had our turn when I was in charge, but now it’s a different model. When you try to change things so drastically, you can have hiccups along the way and I just hope people stick with them through them. But Ellis Short is giving him the moral support and chance to develop as a manager.”
Quinn is confident the club’s fresh approach will ultimately bring positive results to the Stadium of Light this season.
“Of course I have a personal interest in Sunderland doing well, but it’s going to be an interesting journey,” Quinn said. “I’m quite confident that Sunderland will have a decent year. With the people who are around Paolo, they know the European market — they certainly know the Italian market.
“They know where they can get players who will buy into what he wants to achieve. Under Pop Robson (former Sunderland chief scout) the likes of James McClean came along and one or two others just before that, with (Stephane) Sessegnon and Simon Mignolet. It was looking in a lot of places to find gems. That’s what our scouting model was. Now it seems more centred on the Italian model.
“Newcastle have proved that if you get a model like that — when two years ago it really transformed the club — it can work. Paolo has his people constantly scouting young Italian players and it may just work for Sunderland. I hope it does.”