The Gossip: Sunderland Exploring Goalkeeper Swap Deal?

Claudio Villa

It is Sunday, and that means it's time to once again check in with the weekly Sunderland gossip.

The relentless surge of Sunderland transfer gossip is showing no signs of easing up. Defenders, goalkeepers, midfielders, attackers... this week we have fresh names for all.

But first, the updated list:

Valentin Roberge (Maritimo)
Mobido Diakite (Lazio)
Diogo Viana (F.C. Penafiel)
Danny Rose (Tottenham)
Emmanuel Cascione (Pescara)
Danilo D'Ambrosio (Torino)
El Hadji Ba (Le Havre)
Mauro Zarate (Lazio)
Bas Dost (Wolfsburg)
George Mandjeck (Auxerre)
Charlie Austin (Burnley)
Alfred Finnbogason (SC Heerenveen)
Greg Sandomierski (Genk)
Tom Allan (York City)
Salif Sane (Nancy)
Cabral (Basel)
Lucas Orban (Tigre)
Gary Hooper (Celtic)
Fraser Forster (Celtic)
Milos Krasic (Fenerbache)
Wilfried Bony (Vitesse)
Grant Holt (Norwich)
Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa)
Paulinho (Livorno)
Nacho Scocco (Al Ain)
Reto Ziegler (Juventus)
John Guidetti (Manchester City)
Josuha Guilavogui (Saint-Étienne)
Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli)

Six new players fairly strongly linked this week, which takes our total so far up to an astonishingly hefty 29. To put that in a little context - in the whole of last summer, this feature only recorded 70 names worth mentioning. With almost three months until the transfer window SLAMS SHUT(!! © boring people) we are already almost half way to matching that.

By far the most interesting little mini-sage this week surrounded Simon Mignolet.

The Belgian's agent, who wasn't his agent, was quoted in the Echo with a reasonable flair for the dramatic as insisting that Mignolet wouldn't sign a new contract and kind of fancied moving on. His actual agent quickly responded by saying the other blokey wasn't qualified to speak on behalf of the player and we should ignore him - before going on to pretty much repeat everything he said but in a much nicer way.

The press around the world had already got hold of the first quotes though along with the doom-mongering spin, and news quickly spread that Mignolet was unhappy, determined to force a move, and has generally come to his senses and realised that he is far too good for Sunderland. Which he is, of course, but none of the rest is actually true.

Following? Stay with us.

The actual situation, according to the much nicer agent, is that Simon Mignolet is reasonably content for the moment and eager to see a little progression at the club before committing his future to it, though he would be open to discussions at a later date.

In other words, Simon Mignolet is a sensible lad. It really isn't news, but there you go.

Naturally, however, with the world now utterly convinced that Mignolet has essentially decided that he is an oppressed victim of some kind of sinister Sunderland serfdom and suitably angry over it (which we would like to once again stress that he isn't), the press has started linking him with a move away pretty much on a daily basis.

The most interesting of which was Sky Italia insisting that an enraged Paolo Di Canio (presumably because, you know, he is Paolo Di Canio...) offered the stopper to Napoli in some kind of an exchange deal for their veteran goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis.

The Napoli president was quick to vehemently deny it, but even that hasn't stopped the story from gathering pace.

Our take on it? We struggle to really see Sunderland actively trying to sell Mignolet this summer. Should a large offer arrive for him then his contractual situation demands consideration, but until such a time it is probably just business as usual.

You would expect there to be a contingency plan in case that bid arrives, but the De Sanctis story seems highly unlikely to us.

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In other news, Sunderland were strongly linked with Livorno's Brazilian striker Paulinho early in the week, even to the point of it being suggested a hefty bid was lodged with the newly promoted Serie A club.

That story also always seemed unlikely, though. It had all the hallmarks of the club's name being used in the press simply to drive up the price to a single genuinely interested party, and lo and behold the second Sampdoria increased their bid Sunderland's name almost instantly vanished from the reports.

Another new name on our list this year is a very familiar one. In fact, he spent pretty much all of last summer on the list too - John Guidetti.

It is probably quite surprising that it has taken this long for his name to crop up, really. His agent is, or at least was, none other than Sunderland's new incoming Director of Football Roberto De Fanti.

At the moment, you wonder if it was just a slow news day and it was thrown out there by the press purely because of that connection. Certainly, that is how we are treating it for the moment, though I think he is a player most would welcome to the club with a degree of optimism.

In midfield, Saint-Étienne's French international Josuha Guilavogui has been mentioned in the press, though he himself is hoping to stay in Ligue 1 for the time being. Former Tottenham left back Reto Ziegler has also had a mention or two, but that is probably just a product of the new 'pick a random player at an Italian club and link them with Sunderland' policy seemingly adopted by many journalists this summer.

Phew, I think that's about your lot for now. Remember you can keep up with all the stories as they happen via our DEDICATED SUNDERLAND TRANSFER CENTRE.

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