Sunderland stopper Mannone brushes off Man United talk

Vito Mannone.
Vito Mannone.
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VITO MANNONE has no desire to end the “best time” of his career by leaving Sunderland, despite speculation linking the goalkeeper with a January move to Manchester United.

Surprise reports emerged in Italy last week suggesting Man United were tracking Sunderland summer signing Mannone as a potential back-up to first-choice stopper David De Gea.

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet brushed off the speculation by insisting his focus was on strengthening his goalkeeping ranks, not weakening them, as he looks for cover for Mannone during the transfer window.

And Mannone, who endured the frustration of being a back-up stopper at former club Arsenal, has joined his manager in pouring cold water on the talk.

The Italian, who again impressed in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Southampton, insists his only interest regarding Man United is Wednesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against the reigning Premier League champions.

Mannone said: “I don’t really care about this stuff. It happens outside of the football pitch.

“My concentration is on the pitch and on last weekend’s game. Now we’ve got a massive game on Wednesday.

“I’m having the best time of my career at Sunderland and I don’t see why I would move right now.

“I want to stay first-choice and build on my performances to improve.

“That’s my only aim. My only focus is on beating Man United.”