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Report: Goalkeeper Close To Signing?

Sunderland are reportedly close to signing Romanian goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon on a free transfer from Manchester City.

Clive Brunskill

With Keiren Westwood and Oscar Ustari leaving Sunderland once their contracts expire at the end of this month, signing a new goalkeeper has been something of a priority for Gus Poyet. Despite the club showing faith in Jordan Pickford by handing him a new four-year contract, they have still been on the look-out for a senior goalkeeper to act as competition to Vito Mannone and reports last night suggest they are close to agreeing a deal with Costel Pantilimon.

According to reports, Pantilimon is due to fly into the North-East in the coming days, with Sunderland hopeful of unveiling the Romanian international before the end of the week. The 27-year-old is out of contract at Manchester City and should his signing be confirmed he will arrive on a Bosman free transfer as Sunderland's third signing of the summer, after Billy Jones and Jordi Gomez.

The 6'8" goalkeeper played 18 times for the Premier League champions last season, keeping eight clean sheets in the process but only made seven appearances in the league. He played twice against Sunderland, including the Capital One Cup final, but regularly found himself on the bench as back up to regular number one Joe Hart.

In related news, Manchester City are hoping to replace Pantilimon with out-going Sunderland goalkeeper Westwood. The Irish international would act as back up to Hart and with the player coming through City's academy would be a useful addition after they had Champions League squad restrictions placed upon them due to breaking the Financial Fair Play rules.

Sunderland have also reportedly shown interest in Lithuanian u14 goalkeeper Arijus Bražinskas, which if nothing else shows how extensive our scouting network has become.

Stay tuned to Roker Report throughout the summer as we keep you up to date with all the transfer news and rumours. Also, feel free to keep in touch with our dedicated Transfer Centre, which you can do by CLICKING HERE.