SUNDERLAND unveiled the signing of Costel Pantilimon on Monday night 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 the season, travelled to the North-East 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.

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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.

Speaking about the signing, the club’s sporting director Lee Congerton said: “Competition for places is healthy and brings out the best in players. We already have a great goalkeeper in Vito Manonne and another one now in Costel. Add to this youngster Jordan Pickford, who recently signed a long-term deal and we have a very strong stable of goalkeepers, which is vitally important in the top flight.”

Pantilimon said: “It is a great privilege and honour to join a club like Sunderland. They have an amazing history and tradition and of course passionate fans.

“When I left Manchester City it was important that I chose a club with good ambition and a manager who has the hunger and desire to take the team forward.

“After speaking with the boss, I knew this was the right place and he was the right man. I can't wait to start.”

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.