Sunderland completed their third signing of the summer last night when goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon agreed a four-year deal.

The Romanian moves as a free agent, after leaving Manchester City at the end of last season. Having been briefly elevated to the first team when Joe Hart suffered a crisis of confidence in the winter, he spent most of the second half of last season sitting on the bench.

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However, he was in the City side that beat Sunderland in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley - not that he knew much about Fabio Borini's fire-cracker that whistled past him early on.

It looks a good move for Sunderland, who get a reliable deputy for Vito Mannone. Whether it's such a good move for Pantilimon remains to be seen - one suspects he'll get plenty of chances to see if the benches at the Stadium of Light measure up to the ones at the Etihad.

The Black Cats still have an offer on the table at Swansea City for Ashley Williams. Actually, given that Swansea don't really want to sell Williams, it's probably hidden away in a secret drawer at the back of the table, just so the central defender doesn't see it.

Overnight, Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore suffered a hamstring strain that could well mean his World Cup is over.

Altidore was stretchered off during the USA's 2-1 win over Ghana and will have scans later today. If the results are not good, he could miss a decent chunk of Sunderland's pre-season programme. I'd say that was bad  news for the Black Cats, but we all know that's not necessarily true.


While it's been a busy few days at the Stadium of Light, life at St James' Park is much more sedate. And when I say sedate, I actually mean comatose.

I think we all have a pretty good idea of Newcastle's main targets by now - Cabella, Lassoga, Grenier - but whether they're going to get them or not still remains to be seen.

The club appears to have accepted that things are unlikely to move until after the end of the World Cup - hence the reports that managing director Lee Charnley has taken a brief break.

The links with Bafetimbi Gomis refuse to go away - primarily because Willie McKay has been working his unique brand of magic and pushing his client's name to anyone who will listen. One imagines that if McKay pops into Tesco for his big shop this afternoon, Gomis will be the frontrunner to be manning the cheese counter next week.

Meanwhile, Hatem Ben Arfa's agent has rubbished reports linking the winger with a move to Qatar. Suspect that one's going to run and run all summer though - much like Ben Arfa on one of his mazy dribbles.


It's been a saga that's run for the best part of two years, but Marvin Emnes should finally complete a permanent move to Swansea before the end of the week.

Having spent the second half of last season on loan at the Liberty Stadium, Emnes has been desperate to get back to South Wales. Must like a lusty male-voice choir.

Boro look to set to receive a little over £1m for his services - not exactly a great fee given that they could have had around £5m not so long ago, but still a reasonably decent return on the evidence of some of Emnes' performances in the first half of last season.

Getting his wages off the books should help in terms of bringing players in, although there's still the issue of Lukas Jutkiewicz's future to address.

Albert Adomah made his World Cup debut for Ghana last night, although his second-half cameo couldn't help his side avoid a defeat to USA that could well prove terminal to their chances of getting beyond the group stage.


Pools were making transfer news yesterday as promising young centre-back Josh Nearney put pen to paper on his first professional contract at Victoria Park.

The 18-year-old defender joined Pools after leaving Middlesbrough's under-16 team, and was offered terms at the end of last season.

Colin Cooper clearly rates him, and it would be no surprise to see him pushing for a first-team place next season.