Vito Mannone hasn’t played for a club in his native Italy for nearly a decade, having left the Atalanta youth academy for Arsenal as a 17-year-old in 2005.
But according to Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio, that could all soon change with Serie A giants Napoli weighing up a move for the Sunderland goalkeeper.
The Desio native moved to the Stadium of Light last summer after never quite establishing himself at the Emirates down the years, and proceeded to have a brilliant season for the Black Cats.
Mannone finished second in the Premier League in saves, playing a crucial role in Sunderland beating the drop and providing heroics in their run to the League Cup final.
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And the Italian became a beloved figure on Wearside over the course of the campaign, voted Player of the Year by Sunderland fans - but nonetheless could be on his way out the exit door.
The Black Cats signing of Costel Pantillimon from Manchester City has cast doubt over his future, as the Romanian has seemingly been brought in on the promise of being first choice.
That’s where Napoli come in. The Partenopei have been fighting a pitched battle with Liverpool to sign Pepe Reina permanently at a knockdown price, and it’s unclear if they’ll succeed.
Di Marzio has maintained that Napoli are interested in Mannone as an alternative to the veteran Spaniard should their bid to keep last season’s on-loan number one fail.
Mannone himself has reportedly told Sunderland that he wants to leave due to Pantillimon’s arrival, though any Napoli move would of course hinge on Reina’s future.
No price-tag has yet been placed on the 26-year-old, though it’s likely Sunderland will at the very least look to recoup the reported €2.4 million spent on him last July.
The former Italy U-21 international has previously said he’s open to a return to his homeland, whilst the allure of Champions League football at Napoli would certainly make the San Paolo an enticing destination.