Sunderland poised to announce Pantilimon deal

The Northern Echo: WEARSIDE BOUND: Costel Pantilimon is set to sign for Sunderland as a free agent WEARSIDE BOUND: Costel Pantilimon is set to sign for Sunderland as a free agent

SUNDERLAND will announce the signing of Costel Pantilimon in the next couple of days after the former Manchester City goalkeeper agreed personal terms at the Academy of Light.

Pantilimon, who was released from the Etihad Stadium at the end of last season, travelled to the North-East earlier today to finalise contractual arrangements and undergo a medical.

The Romanian is understood to have received assurances that he will be allowed to challenge for a place in the first team in pre-season despite Vito Mannone’s fine form at the end of the last campaign.

Mannone received Sunderland’s Player of the Year award after producing a string of fine performances in the wake of his move from Arsenal last summer.

However, Keiren Westwood’s departure has left the Black Cats without an experienced alternative to the Italian, and Gustavo Poyet does not want Mannone to go unchallenged next season.

Pantilimon’s arrival will provide some interesting competition throughout pre-season, with the 27-year-old boasting 18 full international caps and experience of the Champions League.

Sunderland continue to pursue a number of outfield targets, and are pondering an improved offer for Swansea City defender Ashley Williams, who has been unable to agree the terms of a new deal at the Liberty Stadium.

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