GUSTAVO POYET has started his search for a new goalkeeper after Oscar Ustari outlined a wish to leave Sunderland rather than enter discussions about a new deal.
Sunderland are looking to make progress on the transfer front after releasing their retained list and a new shot-stopper is a requirement.
Poyet and sporting director Lee Congerton are looking at options at home and abroad, with a player capable of dislodging Vito Mannone on the radar after releasing both Ustari and Keiren Westwood. They do not just want a goalkeeper happy to play second fiddle to the Italian.
Ustari’s decision to leave after his six-month contract expires is based on wanting to be a number one somewhere having failed to establish himself ahead of Mannone at the back of the season.
Southampton and Lazio are known to admire the Argentine, although he has suggested a return to Spain would suit him more.
The former Almeria goalkeeper said: “I’m in love with Spain. I really like Spain, the people, the quality of life. The truth is I’d go back. I love the league too. I feel like I identified with the league, with how people live it. I have fond memories.”
Poyet still has the promising talent of Jordan Pickford to call on, but he would like a different option between the posts so he can consider sending the youngster out on loan next season to gain experience.
Ustari’s exit means he follows Phil Bardsley, Carlos Cuellar, Andrea Dossena, Craig Gardner, and Westwood out of the first team squad door at the Stadium of Light since the end of the season. Both Jack Colback and Seb Larsson, set to become free agents, are still considering offers from Sunderland and elsewhere.
But missing out on a place in Italy’s World Cup squad has not left Emanuele Giaccherini demanding a summer move from the Stadium of Light after a disappointing first season on Wearside.
Giaccherini has been in and out of the Sunderland team since joining from Juventus in a £8.6m deal last year.
The 29-year-old was a regular in Italy squads then but he has been overlooked by Cesare Prandelli for the finals in Brazil because of his lack of form and starts in the Premier League – and he is seeking reassurances from Poyet.
Giaccherini, interesting Fiorentina and Genoa, said: “It’s still early for me to be thinking about my future. I am on holiday but my intention is definitely to remain at Sunderland.
“I am happy at the club and when it is the right time I will talk to the boss in order to hear his thoughts on my role. I have three years of contract and I want to remain in the Premier League, wearing this shirt.”
Poyet wants to get the futures of Colback and Larsson sorted quickly so that he knows the extent of the changes required during the close-season.
Despite still having Steven Fletcher, Jozy Altidore, Connor Wickham and Danny Graham, following the end of his loan at Middlesbrough, to call on next season, the Uruguayan is on the look-out for a new striker.
And yesterday he was strongly linked with a move for Fenerbahce front-man Moussa Sow. The 28-year-old is, however, rated in the £11m bracket by his club which could put off the Black Cats.