Gary Engel says...
Anyone present the night Sunderland fans took over Leicester Square in 2014, know what cult status Vito Mannone has on Wearside following his penalty heroics at Old Trafford just weeks before that. I wonder if that rubbed off on a certain Jordan Pickford?
Quite possibly the worst decision made during our ill-fated Championship season was saying ’arrivederci’ to Mannone. From the shocking amount of possible points dropped due to goalkeeping howlers it brings a lump to the Mackem throat, how the last few disastrous years could so easily have been avoided.
They say a fine Italian wine gets better with age, much like a goalkeeper. Anyone at Vito’s level would be a sound improvement on Burge. But we are realistic enough to know few keepers as good would make such a drop down the divisions for League One football without good reason. Vito Mannone back to Sunderland seems like a very attractive proposition to me and a massive coup at this level.
Tom Albrighton says...
Mannone, while also being of nostalgic value, definitely offers something more to the club. Whilst Burge is an average League One keeper and Patterson needs the freedom to pursue a loan in order to gain experience, signing Mannone just seems to make sense.
Keepers benefit from longevity than most in football, so even despite his age the only real downside is his lack of resale value.
With age comes experience and Mannone has that in bundles. Adding that experience to a youthful backline, backed up with strong shot-stopping and the feeling Mannone is dropping to slightly below his level could prove to be some of Sunderland’s most shrewd business.
The lift it would bring the club too cannot be understated. While he may have been an average Premier League keeper, Mannone was well received on Wearside and should he return it would signal that Sunderland are more than a viable option for any other potential signings.
Matthew Foster says...
Whilst usually being against signing former players, the thought of seeing Mannone back at Sunderland is one that fills me with excitement.
He’s a player who already has a solid place in Sunderland history, but to come back and help us finally achieve promotion out of League One would only solidify his place in the hearts of Sunderland fans.
You need look no further than the reaction to the news of a potential return, of the positivity this would generate among the Sunderland faithful.
And who doesn’t want to hear “Oh, Vito Mannone!” reverberate around the Stadium once more!
Kelvin Beattie says...
This is an intriguing, even enticing development. I like many enjoyed Vito’s previous spell with the club. Few would deny he was/ is a very good keeper. He does not really fit the LJ/ Speakman mould but like McGeady, it's difficult to deny quality. That he apparently has expressed a wish to return to the club irrespective of our League One status is enticing, and at 33 years old he still has at least two or three good years ahead of him as a goalkeeper.
I feel as well Mannone could bring valuable experience to a comparatively young defence.
Burge has not done too much wrong and Patterson certainly has good potential but Mannone would be a step up and a hugely popular signing.