Former Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone would be a very smart purchase for Manchester United should manager David Moyes sign the Sunderland goalkeeper.
Mannone was linked with the Red Devils after Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Mirror Football's Ed Malyon) reported that Moyes is interested in bringing in Mannone as backup to David De Gea.
Mannone has kept five clean sheets this season in 12 Premier League games for Sunderland, as ESPN stats show, as they fight a relegation battle under recently appointed boss Gus Poyet. He would be the perfect backup for De Gea.
However, United already have Anders Lindegaard as their No. 2, so any deal for Mannone looks unlikely unless the Danish international decides to move to seek first-team opportunities elsewhere.
Lindegaard dispelled rumours he was looking to leave Old Trafford, reports Sky Sports, adding he is at his "dream" club.
As for Mannone, the shot-stopper has been in fine form in recent games, with Moyes sending a scout to watch the Italian in the Black Cats' 4-1 away win at Fulham last week.
89' Great reaction save from Mannone, who blocks Sidwell's shot at point-blank range before Brown scrambles the ball off the line.— Sunderland AFC (@SAFCofficial) January 11, 2014
Mannone has demonstrated in the past he has sharp reactions, whilst being an agile goalkeeper. During his time with Hull City, on loan from Arsenal in 2012, Mannone had broken a clean-sheet record held since 1908.
The big Italian equalled a 104-year Tigers club record after keeping six successive clean sheets in the Championship since moving to the KC Stadium in January, reported Rob Kelly on Arsenal.com.
United face Chelsea on Sunday, Jan. 19, at Stamford Bridge in a game Moyes knows the Red Devils cannot lose. Should they do so, they will be 12 points behind Jose Mourinho's men, further away from the Champions League places.
Any chance of United turning what has been a tumultuous first season for Moyes into a success will depend on his purchases this January. United lack options in midfield and need creativity. They have relied on the injured Wayne Rooney and Adnan Januzaj but are still struggling.
Mannone might not be the marquee signing United fans are hoping for, but he will bring some experience and stability to a team that is fragile at this moment in time.
Meanwhile, Poyet says Mannone is "calm" about being linked to Manchester United, reports Sky Sports:
I think Vito is calm about everything.
It was a very different situation for me with Vito and Westy (to give Mannone his first Premier League start), probably one of the hardest decisions I made before Manchester City.
Unfortunately, Westy has had an operation now and is out for another three months. But I'm calm over Vito. There are players that you can talk openly to and Vito is one of those.
Sunderland themselves have been linked with a number of goalkeepers, per Sky Sports. Two Argentine keepers playing in Italy—Catania stopper Mariano Andujar and Genoa's Albano Bizzarri—are said to be on Poyet’s wishlist, with the Uruguayan keen to strengthen his options before the end of this month.