After seeking a permanent move to Sunderland, Vito Mannone has been impressive for the relegation threatened club. He was named as the Sunderland player’s Player of the Year for last season. Despite this accolade, black cats manager Gus Poyet decided to bring in Manchester City reserve goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon on a free transfer. Now, Sunderland have two goalkeepers capable of playing as the first choice. Pantilimon is aware that he must fight hard in order to depose Mannone from first-team spot, but he is ready to take on the fight.
At just 27 years of age, Pantilimon will represent a significant challenge for Mannone. Last season, the 6’8” goalkeeper made seven Premier league appearances as he came close to replacing Joe Hart on a permanent basis. However, his performances were not good enough to do so while Hart also returned back to form. After the end of his contract, he decided to join Sunderland aware of the fact that first-team spot is not guaranteed. Following several loans spells, Mannone seems to be settled at Sunderland. Last season, he made 29 league appearances and kept 11 clean sheets, which is an impressive record considering that Sunderland spent most of last season bottom of the table.
During his three years at the Etihad stadium, Pantilimon made only 29 appearances. “Everyone wants to be in the first XI, but Vito is a good guy and a good keeper. It’s important we all work together to help the team. I found out the manager wanted me here which was great news. I want to be number one in the national team, I’m young and I need to play. It’s a good opportunity to come here. I had a good talk with the manager, I know his ideas and ambitions and I hope we can do good things together,” said Pantilimon.