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Fan Focus: Getting To Know Costel Pantilimon

Let's be honest, we don't know a great deal about our latest signing Costel Pantilimon. With that in mind, we had a brief chat with somebody that does - step forward Danny Pugsley from our SB Nation counterparts Bitter and Blue. Make sure you follow them on twitter - @Bitter_And_Blue - and bookmark their rather gorgeous looking site - http://bitterandblue.sbnation.com.

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Hi Danny - thanks for giving us your time. Being brutally honest – is Pantilimon any good? Most of us don’t know a great deal about the lad.

It's a tricky one. Until this season he'd been the Carling Cup keeper with little chance of ousting Joe Hart. Obviously with Hart's form earlier in the season he got somewhat of a shot, although Hart was always set to return eventually. He did fairly well without standing out, exactly what you'd expect from the second choice keeper. I do think he's slightly better than a back up though but as far as a true number one? Hmm, I'm not convinced.

I quickly did a search for his name on twitter the other day and it seemed as though most City fans were sad to see him leave…

He strikes as a popular character and always kept his head down without rocking the boat or making demands. I think the fans knew he was unlikely to re-sign given the limited opportunity he would have and I'm sure most would like to see him get a shot somewhere.

We’ve already got a thoroughly decent keeper at the club in Vito Mannone. Taking into consideration that Costel signed a four year contract, can you really see him coming to Sunderland to play second fiddle?

No, and I'm sure he could have that length of contract and deal from City so my guess is he's been told (or believes) that he will at the very least an open competition with Mannone. Given Mannone's form (clanger at The Etihad aside...) I am surprised you guys have added another keeper to compete with him.

He was infamously dropped ahead of the FA cup final in 2013 after being told by Mancini that he’d be playing. How did that go down with the fans?

That day there were far more pressing issues with the news breaking that Mancini was on his way out. It struck as a little petulant to react the way he did but unsurprising given he'd played the entire competition only to miss out in the final. He at least got to play in the Capital One Cup final this year (sorry...).

What would you say his strengths as a goalkeeper were?

His height obviously. He is a safe pair of hands and you don't imagine him making high profile mistakes that cost the team dear.

And his weaknesses?

Safe he may be but equally he isn't a keeper that you feel will win you games or earn a 0-0 draw when you are under the cosh for ninety minutes.

Why do you think that Costel was allowed to leave the Manchester City? Was it a mutual thing?

I'm sure City would have liked to have kept him around but may be the four year term was a bit long for them. Maybe they were looking more at a one or two year deal? We don't know the wages either but for Pantilimon it appears a good contract on offer and what you imagine is an opportunity to start.

Finally – is there anyone else you fancy letting us have? You don’t need all them players, really.

There are potentially a few loan candidates. Jack Rodwell desperately needs some playing time and John Guidetti likewise.

As far as younger players are concerned Emyr Huws starred on loan at Birmingham last season and despite only being 18 could be a possibility. Marcos Lopes too has played bits in the cup competitions and seems a star in waiting. The club may decide to keep him around for another season as he is still barely 18 too and may not quite be ready for a full season.