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Would Champions League finalist & ex-Manchester United ‘keeper be a good option for Sunderland?

Birmingham goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak has been loosely linked with a move to Sunderland over the weekend. But would he really be a better option than Vito Mannone should the Italian opt to stay at the Stadium of Light?

Brighton & Hove Albion v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak has been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light. The 35-year-old spent six seasons at Old Trafford and was an unused substitute in the 2007-8 Champions League final.

Presently with Birmingham, the Polish 'keeper has two years left on his contract at St Andrews but would be available for a nominal fee this summer.

Kuszczak faces losing his spot as number one in the Blues' squad following the capture of David Stockdale from Brighton.

Hibernian and Birmingham City - Pre-Season Friendly
Tomasz Kuszczak
Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

The story originated on the Birmingham Vital Football website so should probably be treat with caution and the link is an obvious one to make with Sunderland likely to be in the market for a goalkeeper this summer.

A holder of Premier League and League Cup winners' medals from his time at United, Kuszczak was linked with an emergency loan move to Sunderland in 2011. That was when Steve Bruce was frantically seeking cover for the crocked Simon Mignolet who had broken his nose against Aston Villa. At the time, Craig Gordon and Trevor Carson were also out injured leaving Kieren Westwood as the only fit senior goalkeeper at the Stadium of Light.

But back to the present day and with Jordan Pickford now settling in at Everton following his £30m move to Goodison Park and Vito Mannone another potential departure from Wearside, new Sunderland boss Simon Grayson has just four weeks until the season starts to assess his options between the sticks.

Mannone is thought to have been told he would be sold this summer by former boss David Moyes, but with the Scot now long departed from Sunderland, the Italian stopper may yet decide to stay on at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Vito Mannone
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Certainly transfer stories surrounding the 28-year-old Black Cats goalkeeper have gone quiet in the last week or two with previous links to Watford, Atalanta and Genoa having faded.

Genoa were said to be considering Mannone as they planned for life after Mattia Perin who was rumoured to be a target for AC Milan to replace teenage sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma. But with the 18-year-old hinting he may now stay on at the San Siro, that chain of events involving the Sunderland goalkeeper has stalled.

Elsewhere, Atalanta have signed Albania stopper Etrit Berisha and Watford have landed Austria Under-21 goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann to provide cover for Heurelho Gomes and Costel Pantilimon.

So those exit routes mooted from the Stadium of Light for Mannone are currently all closed. The silence over transfer rumours for the goalie, who has been with Sunderland since 2013, may also be explained by his agent having been somewhat preoccupied of late.

Roberto De Fanti is the Italian 'keeper's representative and has recently been frantically arranging that surprise signing of the summer so far - Fabio Borini's move to AC Milan.

Regardless, Mannone may yet prove a better option for Sunderland in the Championship than Kuszczak. The former Poland international, who has 11 caps for his country, put in some good displays in the second-tier last season but is getting on a bit.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League
Tomasz Kuszczak at the Stadium of Light in December 2007
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Birmingham 'keeper who had spells with Watford, West Brom and Brighton before moving to St Andrews produced some inspired performances in the campaign just ended and was credited as a factor behind the Blues late escape from relegation.

But Mannone would equally be one of the better goalies in the Championship next season and remains a popular figure on Wearside. And after spending last season as second-fiddle to Jordan Pickford, he may yet feel he has unfinished business at Sunderland.

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