Mignolet Sunderland exit opens the way for Keiren Westwood

NEW NUMBER ONE: Keiren Westwood
NEW NUMBER ONE: Keiren Westwood

SUNDERLAND are unlikely to sign a big money replacement for Simon Mignolet.

Keiren Westwood, who was limited to just three Capital One Cup appearances for Sunderland last season, is expected to become first-choice after being forced to play second fiddle to Mignolet.

Westwood would almost certainly have left Wearside if Mignolet had remained after being restricted to a bit-part role since arriving from Coventry City two years ago.

But in his 13 appearances for the Black Cats, the Republic of Ireland stopper has proved himself as an adept performer and will now hope to secure regular first-team football both for club and country.

With 19-year-old Jordan Pickford the only other stopper on Sunderland’s books, Di Canio is likely to recruit a young custodian from the Continent as back-up to Westwood.

Reports in Holland have credited Sunderland with an interest in PSV’s Jeroen Zoet after the Wearsiders watched the 22-year-old in action for the Dutch Under-21s.

And Heerenveen’s Kristoffer Nordfelt was yesterday linked to Sunderland, with the 24-year-old yet to pen a new contract with the Dutch outfit.

Nordfelt still has another two years remaining on his current deal with Heerenveen, but there is reported to be a release clause of just £2m in the seven-time Swedish international’s agreement.