Watford and La Liga outfit eye Sunderland keeper Costel Pantilimon

Watford and Spanish side Espanyol have emerged as possible suitors for out-of-favour Sunderland keeper Costel Pantilimon.

Monday, 18th January 2016, 6:03 pm
Updated Monday, 18th January 2016, 7:29 pm
Costel Pantilimon

The ex-Manchester City stopper’s future at the Stadium of Light looks increasingly bleak after he has been left out of the matchday squad for the last three games.

With Sunderland looking to offload one of their three keepers before the end of the transfer window, Pantilimon is the firm favourite to depart, with the 28-year-old notably on a heftier salary than Vito Mannone.

Watford have been mooted as a possible destination for Pantilimon, to provide competition for Heurelho Gomes.

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And Espanyol could also offer an exit route, with reports in Pantilimon’s native Romania that the La Liga outfit are interested in the Sunderland man.

Ex-Romanian international Constantin Galca took charge at Espanyol last month and wants to bring his compatriot to the side lying just above the relegation zone.

The big problem for Espanyol would be the financial aspect of any move, particularly the wages, after Pantilimon penned a lucrative Bosman contract at Sunderland 18 months ago.

But after losing his place as Sunderland number one and with Mannone and Jordan Pickford also available to Sam Allardyce, Pantilimon’s chances at the Stadium of Light are likely to be limited if he doesn’t depart this month.

After Sunderland completed a draining schedule of three successive away games last week, the Black Cats are expected to now increase their efforts to offload players over the remaining fortnight of the window.

Danny Graham started last weekend’s defeat at Spurs, yet the ex-Swansea man is still likely to depart before the end of the month, with his Sunderland contract expiring next summer.

Championship pair Wolves and Blackburn have both made enquiries with Sunderland for Graham, with the latter in pole position to land the 30-year-old.

As well as fringe players Valentin Roberge and Charis Mavrias, Sunderland are also looking to move on midfielder Jordi Gomez.

The Spaniard was a regular under both Gus Poyet and Dick Advocaat after arriving on a free transfer from Wigan 18 months ago.

But Gomez’s only appearance in the last two months was in Boxing Day’s defeat at Manchester City and he hasn’t even been on the bench since then.