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Sunderland linked with Boro goalkeeper, but is he any good? The verdict from ITV footy reporter

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Gossip on Teesside suggests Dimi Konstantopoulos has asked to leave Middlesbrough this month; but is he headed for Sunderland and is he any good?

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Reading v Middlesbrough - Madejski Stadium

Chris Coleman remains keen on adding an experienced goalkeeper to the Sunderland squad for the rest of the season and according to reports will move for Middlesbrough veteran Dimitrios Konstantopoulos if Leeds refuse to release Andy Lonergan.

At 39-years-old, the once-capped Greek international has certainly been around the block, but is he actually any better than Robbin Ruiter or Jason Steele?

Konstantopoulos established himself as first choice ‘keeper at the Riverside under Aitor Karanka ahead of Jason Steele and Tomas Mejias after signing in 2013, and was instrumental in Middlesbrough’s promotion to the Premier League in 2015.

Once described by Karanka as the ‘perfect squad member’, has the Greek veteran got enough left in his ageing body to help keep Sunderland in the Championship? We collared Simon O’Rourke, sports correspondent for ITV Tyne Tees for a view:

Lovely guy. Had a really good career. His time at Boro and the promotion a couple of years ago is the undoubted highlight. Genuinely solid keeper. Not of the highest class, but good at the bread and butter stuff and not particularly accident prone.

But he’s 39. Thirty nine. Even in SAFC’s situation this would represent the ultimate in short-termism. Having said that, there is a phrase involving the words “beggars” and “choosers” that springs to mind.

MK Dons v Middlesbrough : Sky Bet Football Championship
Dimi Konstantopoulos
Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

The Verdict

If Dimi Konstantopoulos was better than Jason Steele a few years ago, then it’s probably fair to assume that even at the age of 39 - he still is. But the Greek ‘keeper may well be eyeing retirement when his current deal with ‘Boro comes to an end in the summer.

There are continued suggestions that Sunderland are prepared to loan Steele out in order for the flapping ‘keeper to restore his confidence elsewhere if a buyer can not be found. Any new boy would battle Robbin Ruiter for the starting spot in goal.

Word is from Teesside, Dimi has asked to leave this month in order to get up from the Riverside bench and play football in his twilight years.

The link to Sunderland originated in the Northern Echo during the week and may yet be a little agent talk to engineer some interest - but few on Wearside would argue the Black Cats don’t need a safe pair of hands in goal, and Dimi could offer just that.