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.
Is Vito Mannone a suitable signing for Manchester United?
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.
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:
Never thought I'd see the day when Vito Mannone and Wojciech Szczesny were the two top rated goalkeepers in the PL by WhoScored— Martin Laurence (@martinlaurence7) January 13, 2014
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.
Has Vito Mannone impressed you this season?
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.