The summer transfer window might only have opened officially, but Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has wasted no time making his first three signings of the summer.
25 year old French center back Valentin Roberge has signed from Primiera Liga side Maritimo. Roberge, like all three players brought in by the Black Cats, has joined the Wearside club on a free transfer. The one time Paris St-Germain player has penned a three year contract. The defender is not in completely unfamiliar surroundings, having played at St. James Park last season in a Europa League Group Game with Newcastle.
As well as his native France, the Montreuil born player has also played in Greece before joining Maritimo and played a pivotal part in his sides qualification for last season’s Europa League.
Joining Roberge is Basle midfielder Adilson Tavares Varela, more commonly known as Cabral. The Cape Verdean born player, who can also play in central defence, joins from the Swiss league champions.
Cabral has also penned a three year deal to keep him with the premier league club until the 2015-16 season.
The final part of the triumvirate is the signing of Lazio central defender Modibo Diakite. The 26 year old, who also previously played for Italian side Pescara, joined the Rome side in 2006-07 having impressed scouts.
With Matt Kilgallon and Titus Bramble leaving Sunderland this summer, Diakite, along with Roberge, will be seen as key signings as central defence was clearly an area that needed quick and able reinforcements.
Le Harve midfielder El-Hadji Ba has also been linked with a move to the north-east. The central midfielder has previously been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur and it is believed the Sunderland manager will need to move quickly to secure the signature of the current French Under 20 player.
French newspaper L’Equipe reported in early June that the player had signed a three year deal with the premier league side. If he does sign, Ba would start off in Sunderland’s under 21 squad under the tutelage of Kevin Ball. The player is regarded as a very promising prospect.
Whether Phil Bardsley will be a Sunderland player come the start of the new season remains to be seen. He will have to have won Di Canio around after falling out with the Italian after the defender was photographed lying on the floor of a casino, draped in £50 notes.
Di Canio has been quick to stamp his mark of discipline at the club, in one week alone at the end of last season he fined seven players in all for breaches of conduct.
The transfer window, along with most things under Di Canio’s watch, should make for colorful reading and viewing over the coming weeks.