Simon Mignolet was arguably the Premier League’s most consistent goalkeeper last season; I know that is what most Sunderland fans would likely argue anyway.
So when the summer rolled around and Sunderland faced such a battle to survive last year it was always likely that big teams were going to start snooping around for any whiff of a transfer.
The likes of Arsenal and Liverpool have been linked with him from the Premier League and after these comments by his agent Nico Vaesen earlier in the week the apparent inevitability of his Sunderland exit appears to be growing:
“There is no progress. I think it is very unlikely that he will sign a new contract. Simon has obviously come to a point where he wants to step up a level and there is a lot of interest in him. He is very ambitious and wants to play in the World Cup, in Brazil, next year. It was a good thing that Sunderland stayed up and it is a fantastic club where he has had three great years. But it is maybe time to step up a level and play for a club competing for a European spot.”
And it seems Rafa Benitez liked what he saw of the Belgian number two during his time in the Premier League last season - as the latest rumours link him with a move to Napoli.
Benitez took over from Walter Mazzarri at the Partenopei this summer and is looking for a new goalkeeper to replace the ageing Morgan De Sanctis.
Perfectly plausible deal right? Champions League football and potential title challenges around the corner for Mignolet next season.
But this is where the plausibility of the deal falls down.
As what is being proposed is actually a swap deal with De Sanctis.
The 36-year-old Italian is certainly a good keeper but is over a decade older than the current Sunderland stopper.
While we are certain that there would also be a significant amount of cash thrown into any deal surely this is not a deal that will actually go through?
We all know Paolo Di Canio is slightly eccentric but he is not completely barking mad; is he?
De Sanctis is not exactly a long-term option between the sticks and to be swayed into selling your star player by deadwood bartering is surely not going to get Sunderland anywhere next season.
Do you think Sunderland could genuinely swap Mignolet for De Sanctis?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald