By Duncan Castles
Paolo Di Canio has initiated his planned overhaul of Sunderland's playing resources by setting up a close-season transfer of Maritimo centre-back Valentin Roberge.
The 25-year-old has agreed to move to the Premier League side under freedom of contract when his current deal with the Portuguese club expires at the end of the season.
|11/10||Sunderland are 11/10 with Coral to finish above Newcastle
The defender spent his teenage years with Guingamp and Paris Saint-Germain before a two-season spell in Greece with Aris, yet is relatively unknown in his native country.
Controversially employed as a replacement for Martin O'Neill, Di Canio has eased Sunderland's relegation concerns by winning two of his four Premier League fixtures since his appointment on March 31.
With three fixtures remaining, his new club holds a five-point lead over 18th-placed Wigan and a substantial goal-difference advantage over Aston Villa and Newcastle.
As a condition of taking over at Sunderland, the Italian sought, and was granted, full control over the club's senior player recruitment.