Sunderland are set to complete the £2.5 million signing of Vito Mannone. The club are in the market for a goalkeeper after selling Simon Mignolet to Liverpool for £9 million and Paulo Di Canio has identified Mannone as the perfect replacement.
The Italian joined the Gunners in 2005 from Atlanta but has failed to break in to the squad making only 23 appearances in 7 years. He spent time on loan at Barnsley and Hull City during that time.
Mannone has always been third choice goalkeeper at the club with Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia at the club when he first signed. Lukasz Fabianski then arrived a year later before Lehmann left the club. Wojciech Szczesny then claimed the ‘keeper spot after a couple of fine performances.
Mannone had his chance but could never hold on to the No.1 spot. He single-handedly saw off Fulham in a close 1-0 victory in 2009 after injuries to Almunia and Fabianski saw him start. He kept further clean sheets against Wigan and Olympiacos but couldn’t remain in goal when Almunia regained his fitness.
Last season Mannone found a run of games once again taking advantage of further injuries to Fabianski and Szczesny. He kept clean sheets against Stoke and Liverpool but was pushed out once again after Szczesny’s return. He failed to make another appearance and will be looking to gain valuable first-team football with Sunderland.
A deal is expected to be completed next week as Arsene Wenger continues to reshape his squad ahead of next season.