'I’m always open to coming back' - What ex-Arsenal and Reading man said about potential Sunderland return
It is transfer deadline day in the United Kingdom and clubs have until 11pm to finalise deals.
Sunderland defeated Rotherham United at the Stadium of Light last night with Ross Stewart bagging two alongside a superb individual goal by Jack Clarke, who also assisted the Scot for his brace.
At half-time, Sunderland confirmed the signings of Jewison Bennette, Edouard Michut, Amad Diallo and Abdoullah Ba with the quartet introduced to the Stadium of Light crowd.
Despite the flurry of activity on Wednesday, however, it is understood that Sunderland are still targeting deals as we enter the final throws of the window, with sporting director Kristjaan Speakman eyeing further additions.
Alan Nixon, a reporter for The Sun, has stated that Sunderland are looking into a potential move to bring free agent Vito Mannone back to Wearside.
Mannone, 34, left the club five years ago in 2017 after the Black Cats suffered relegation to the Championship under David Moyes and has since played for Reading and Monaco.
Sunderland have already signed Alex Bass as back-up to first-choice Anthony Patterson this window but could be eyeing an experienced head in Mannone to provide extra cover and competition.
Manonne produced heroics back in 2014 to send Sunderland to a historic final in the Capital One Cup. The stopper made several stunning penalty saves at Old Trafford against Manchester United to send the Wearsiders to the new Wembley for the first time.
Sunderland were said to be exploring the possibility of bringing former goalkeeper Vito Mannone back to the Stadium of Light when the club were still in League One.
Discussions between Sunderland and Mannone’s club Manaco regarding a deal were also claimed to have taken place. Some outlets claimed ‘sources close to the Italian’ apparently confirmed he was ‘keen’ on a potential return to Wearside.
But the deal didn’t materialise and Sunderland signed Thorben Hoffmann instead. “I miss my second home. I was born in Italy but spent most of my life in England,” Mannone explained last December.
“I’m always open to coming back. It has been my home for 13 to 14 years. I’m open to jumping on a plane. Me and my family are so used to the English culture and it’s definitely an option for the future.
“Regarding Sunderland, you never know. If destiny wants me back, I will come back. If it doesn’t ever happen again, I will always be the number one fan of the club.”
Speaking about his feelings for the club, Mannone added: “I was a fan when I was on the pitch and I’m a fan of the club now. It’s painful to see what happened to the club in the last few years and it was really bad to see that Netflix series (‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die). I watched it but I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it.
“Some of the stories in there – wow. It is the truth but to be honest, it didn’t tell you everything that went on at the club. Things like that can’t always tell the whole truth.
“It’s painful to watch but it really shows who the Sunderland fans really are and what an amazing group of fans they are. Despite going down and suffering, they are still there and support the team.”