Manchester United Transfer Rumours: Vito Mannone Approach Made to Sunderland

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2014

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07:  Vito Mannone of Sunderland celebrates as Ryan Giggs of Manchester United (not pictured) scores an own goal for their first goal during the Capital One Cup Semi-Final, first leg match between Sunderland and Manchester United at Stadium of Light on January 7, 2014 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester United are interested in signing Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone as cover for David De Gea, according to reports in Italy.

The former Arsenal stopper, who has performed admirably for the Black Cats this season, could replace Anders Lindegaard as the Red Devils' No. 2, per Gazzetta dello Sport (via Ed Malyon of Mirror Football):

The Italian sports daily claim that David Moyes is interested in bringing in former Arsenal keeper Mannone as back-up to David De Gea.

The story suggests that Anders Lindegaard could be leaving Old Trafford with the Dane keen for first-team football elsewhere.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Dimitar Berbatov (R) of Fulham challenges Vito Mannone the Sunderland goalkeeper during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Sunderland at Craven Cottage on January 11, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jam
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Malyon also suggests Gus Poyet is looking to replace Mannone with Mariano Andujar of Catania, although the Argentinian No. 2 isn't available until the end of the season.

In a transfer window that has seen United linked with world-renowned midfielders such as Paul Pogba, Ilkay Gundogan and Blaise Matuidi, per the club's official website, rumours of a reserve goalkeeping addition will take many by surprise.

Mannone has improved since leaving Arsenal in the summer, perhaps due to receiving a run in the starting lineup and playing under less pressure. It therefore seems unlikely the 25-year-old would be willing to exchange his current surroundings for a seat on the Old Trafford bench.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Manchester United Manager David Moyes acknowledges the fans prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on January 11, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Sha
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Surprisingly, both Mannone and his former colleague Wojciech Szczesny—both of whom have faced major criticism for past Arsenal performances—are leading the way, according to WhoScored.com's goalkeeper ratings for this season:

Although Yahoo! Eurosport suggests David Moyes sent scouts to watch the Italian during Sunderland's recent win over Fulham, it is likely the manager's backroom staff were on a preparation mission in the build-up to United's Capital One Cup semi-final second-leg tie against Poyet's team.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Vito Mannone of Sunderland makes another save during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Sunderland at Goodison Park on December 26, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Mannone made four saves during the Craven Cottage outing, per WhoScored.com, and he has maintained a run of fine form since breaking into the side at the onset of November 2013.

He could take over from Lindegaard, who has never fully convinced since joining the club in 2010, and at the age of 29, he needs to quickly cement a move if he is going to reach his potential.

On the back of recent displays, Mannone would certainly be more than useful as reserve for De Gea, whose No. 1 spot remains untouched at United.