Bye Bye Vito?
The £2 million transfer of Vito Mannone to Reading is imminent, with Sunderland manager Simon Grayson confirming yesterday evening that the Italian goalkeeper is set for a move South in order to gain some security over his short-term future.
Speaking to the press, Grayson said:
We’ve agreed a fee with Reading. The player is going into the last year of his contract and when a suitable offers comes in you have to consider it.
We’ve made it clear to Vito it was up to him what he wanted to do, he felt for his long-term security it was probably best to go. I know he’s discussing personal terms and potentially having a medical.
With any player, when they go into the last year of their contract, you’ve got to consider it. We’ll see where it goes, if it falls through for any reason Vito will be welcomed back. It was put into his hands what he wanted to do and he made the decision that he wanted to go.
The former Arsenal stopper played 80 games for the lads during his four-season stay and will be fondly remembered by Sunderland fans for his League Cup semi final performance against Manchester United in 2013-14, and his involvement in our great escape in that same season.
Mannone, however, was prone to a clanger - none more glaring than his last minute fumble against Manchester City which cost Sunderland a famous victory at the Etihad, or his performance in our 8-0 drubbing at the hands of Southampton.
Grayson did however say that once Mannone leaves, he will be in the market for another goalkeeper. Rumours that it could be Rob Green from Leeds have hung around since the start of the transfer window, but for now we are unclear on who the club are targeting.
If he goes its clear we need another goalkeeper but you saw tonight young Max, I’m not saying he’s going to be number one but he’s shown what a good goalkeeper he is and what could be.
We’re looking in all positions, we’re vulnerable to players leaving. If this had been a week ago we might have had a deal done by now but if he goes we’ve got a list of players we’ll be looking it.
Grayson wanted a reaction on Tuesday - Did he get it?
The Sunderland gaffer also discussed getting a reaction from the players last night after questioning their effort at the weekend when we lost 3-0 to St Johnstone.
During an interview with the Sunderland Echo he declared that he got the reaction he desired:
When the manager questions the reaction of the previous game you want to see a reaction and you want to see what you have questioned has been put right, and I thought tonight they did that.
We worked hard yesterday on aspects of playing without the ball that needed to be better in terms of the shape, the organisation, and the desire to stop the opposition. We were better on the ball and we are trying to get the balance right of all the key components come the start of the season. Ultimately it is about players doing the best they can with and without the ball, and tonight is a bit more satisfying than Saturday.
Grayson also picked out Tyias Browning as performing particularly well, which hopefully means the Everton loanee is settling in well at the Stadium of Light.
I know centre back is his strongest position, at Preston, he predominantly played at right-back but I thought he did well tonight, showing strength, power and calmness on the ball. It was nice for him to get 60 minutes and we’re building up the fitness. A few of the lads got 90 minutes under their belts but one or two players had a couple of niggles, so we’ll see how they are for the weekend.
Sunderland U23s lose 3-2 at Blyth Spartans
Our U23s lost to Blyth Spartans last night in front of 558 supporters at Croft Park.
The Sunderland XI consisted entirely of youth players, the most notable being Tom Beadling, Ethan Robson, Tom Robson and Rees Greenwood.
Blyth’s Dale McTiernan scored a hat trick for Blyth which was ultimately the undoing of Elliot Dickman’s side. The Sunderland goals were scored by Rees Greenwood and Elliott Embleton in what was a thrilling contest in Northumberland.
The Gradel Saga has ended before it began
Max Gradel has reportedly decided that he wants to try and get a place in the Bournemouth side rather than move to the Championship. The Mirror is reporting this morning that the winger wants to fight for his place with the Cherries, putting to bed the rumours that he could be headed to Wearside.
Gradel netted his first goal of the pre-season in Bournemouth's 2-1 win over Portuguese side Estoril, so maybe he is not quite out of Eddie Howe's plans just yet.