New keeper a priority in transfer window for Sunderland

Vito Mannone punches the ball clear against Carlisle. Picture by Frank Reid
Vito Mannone punches the ball clear against Carlisle. Picture by Frank Reid

GUS Poyet says bringing in a new goalkeeper is a top priority in the January transfer window.

The Sunderland head coach has let little slip in the way of information about who he is after and which positions he is looking to strengthen this month.

But he is clear about the need to bring in a new keeper this month, with Keiren Westwood due to go under the surgeon’s knife next week for a shoulder operation which could see him sidelined for the remainder of the campaign.

Poyet told the Echo that he has not settled yet on exactly who he might bring in to act as cover for in-form keeper Vito Mannone.

But he says that the idea of trying to get through the remainder of the campaign with only the former Arsenal stopper being available as an experienced keeper was simply a non-starter in his book.

“If Westie is going to be out until the end of the season then we will need another goalkeeper,” Poyet said.

“We need cover.

“That’s not because we don’t trust Jordan Pickford, who has been on the bench since Keiren has been out.

“But the fact is anything can happen with injuries and we cannot afford to risk the situation where we have an important injury after the transfer window and are short on keepers.

“If we don’t get someone in, I don’t know whether we could ask the Premier League for an emergency loan – I think you can only do that if all your goalkeepers are out, not just if they’re inexperienced.

“So we need to get someone now, both as competition for Vito and as cover.

“We could get a goalkeeper on a permanent contract, or just for six months on loan.

“There are a lot of options, so we will see.”

Currently, Sunderland have only youngsters Jordan Pickford and Joel Dixon available to deputise for Mannone – neither of whom have any Premier League experience.

England Under-19 keeper Pickford has yet to start a game for Sunderland, although the 19-year-old has had loan spells at Darlington, Alfreton Town and Burton Albion.

Teessider Dixon, 20, has played regularly for Kevin Ball’s Under-21 development side this season and had a loan spell at Conference North side Workington Reds last year, but he has only got near the Sunderland bench when Pickford has been unavailable.

Poyet has been linked with 30-year-old Argentina international goalkeeper Mariano Andujar, who currently plays in Italy for Serie A side Catania.

But the Black Cats’ boss does not want to get drawn on individual players and has told the Echo that he has a number of options to consider this month in finding a replacement for Westwood.