Former Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio says he tried to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the club in 2013, but they decided on Jozy Altidore instead.
According to Di Canio (via Chronicle Live), he recommended the then-St. Etienne striker to Sunderland director of football Roberto Di Fanti, who had full control over transfers at the club.
However, Di Fanti and his team decided the €13m asking price wasn’t reasonable, and they spent £6m on Jozy Altidore that summer instead.
Altidore went on to score three goals in 52 appearances for Sunderland. Meanwhile, Aubameyang moved to Borussia Dortmund and bagged 141 goals in 213 games before his £56m club-record transfer to Arsenal.
Now in England, the Gabonese international has already scored 32 goals for the Gunners, almost 10 times Altidore’s total with the Black Cats in just two games more.
Of course, it’s very probable Aubameyang would’ve turned down a move to Sunderland anyway.
The striker received an official offer from Newcastle that same summer, which he rejected, with his father believing Dortmund represented a better option for him.
Given Sunderland’s struggles, they were no more appealing than their local rivals at the time. Nonetheless, that’s unlikely to make Di Canio feel any better about the fact his recommendation was ignored.