Sunderland keeper linked with Championship switch

Vito Mannone at Villa Park last season.
Vito Mannone at Villa Park last season.
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Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has been linked with a January switch to Championship side Aston Villa.

Reports from his homeland suggest the Italian could be open to a switch away from the Stadium of Light in the January window, having lost his place to Jordan Pickford in recent months.

And former Black Cats' boss Steve Bruce could be about to step in for the player, who he tried to sign for Hull City in the summer of 2012.

Sky Sports Italia presenter Gianluca Di Marzio has reported that Villa would be keen to sign Mannone, should, as expected, fellow Italian stopper Pierluigi Gollini, only signed from Verona in a £4.5 million deal in the summer, leave Villa Park.

Italian Under-21 international Gollini's impressive form for Bruce's men this season is said to have alerted the likes of Juventus, who are seeking a long-term replacement for club legend Gigi Buffon.

And that might see Bruce firm up his interest in Mannone, which stretches back more than four years to his time at Arsenal.

The report states that Mannone and his representative are unhappy with the treatment they have received following his return from injury.

It says: "His agent is not happy with the treatment they received.

"They are talking with several teams but Aston Villa are at this time the closest one."

It also claims any deal for Mannone, who has been on the bench due to England call Pickford's remarkable form between the sticks, would be on a permanent basis, ruling out a potential loan move.