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Paolo Di Canio believes he can return to the Premier League

Jan 25, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

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Paolo Di Canio managed to guide Sunderland to safety after being appointed manager last March, but he was sacked early on this season. His Black Cats had won just one of their first six games, but it is thought that one of the reasons behind his dismissal is that a group of players went to the club’s chief executive to express concerns over Di Canio’s methods in training. With Sunderland still languishing in the bottom three of the Premier League, it’s no wonder the Italian believes he deserves another chance at managing in the top flight.

“I am ready to return,” the Italian said. “Football is my breath. The Premier League is my aim, of course. Every manager thinks they are ready for the top, top level but I do not only think about the top. The top for me is the place where I can train and work in my way.”

And where would Di Canio like to go? He believes his destiny lies at West Ham United, although he refuses to speculate about being appointed there soon. But, with the Irons also fighting a relegation battle and Sam Allardyce‘s tenure looking shaky, it just might be a possibility. As a player, Di Canio spent three-and-a-half seasons at the club, and West Ham fans still regularly chant his name. A managerial appointment there may not be out of the question.

That is, if the club are willing to put up with the baggage that comes along with Di Canio. Never afraid to speak his mind, in this most recent interview, the Italian labeled his former Sunderland players cowards and accused the club of being weak. He placed the responsibility on his players, not himself, for the poor start to the season. And there’s the ever-present accusations of fascism that trail Di Canio wherever he goes – not always a trait that one wants to see highlighted in a club’s manager.

There’s no denying that, at this point, West Ham need rescuing. But taking on Paolo Di Canio is likely a risk the club can ill afford. While Di Canio may get another chance at the helm of a Premier League club, it may be to his benefit to accept another lower-league appointment first.

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