Sunderland are looking to bring Monaco goalkeeper Vito Mannone back to the Stadium of Light in the final fortnight of this transfer window, Roker Report revealed this afternoon.
The Italian managed 22 clean sheets in 80 appearances for the Black Cats between 2013 and 2017, playing a key role as the club reached the League Cup final in 2014.
The club are looking for competition for places between the sticks with Lee Burge the only senior goalkeeper at the club, Mannone has one year remaining on his deal at Monaco but is thought to be keen on a return to Sunderland.
He won the club’s and supporters’ Player of the Year awards in 2014 and has represented Reading, Hull City, Arsenal and Barnsley in England.
His signature would certainly boost morale around the Stadium of Light, bringing a figure of the good times back to the North East as Lee Johnson aims to lead the Black Cats back into the second tier of English football.
Lee Burge has been a consistent shot stopper for Sunderland since signing from Coventry City in the summer of 2019 but the addition of Mannone could elevate him to new level, with the knowledge that his position in the first team is under threat should he suffer a dip in performance level.
If his wage demands are not astronomical Mannone could be an excellent addition for the Black Cats and may even entice some exiled supporters back to cheer the side on in League One.
His experience at higher levels can only have a positive influence on the rest of the squad, particularly on the training pitch, he will not want to carry out his homecoming just to sit on the bench.
It has been an up and down window for Sunderland, losing the talismanic figure of Charlie Wyke to promotion rivals Wigan Athletic being the headline, but the smart loan addition of Callum Doyle and potential return of Mannone would add a little gloss on their summer dealings and encourage fans that this could finally be their year.