Report: Sunderland preparing to sign former Newcastle stopper Steve Harper

Sunderland are said to be in for former Newcastle stalwart Steve Harper.

Sunderland are preparing a shock move for free agent goalkeeper Steve Harper, report The Times.

Harper has been without a club since last summer, after spending two seasons with Hull City.

It is his connection with Newcastle United for which Harper is best known, becoming their longest serving player in 2012, spending two decades at the club which involved numerous loan spells.

Nobody would begrudge Harper prolonging his career, but for Newcastle fans to see him in a Sunderland shirt would be hard to stomach.

That is if he gets on the field, because Harper is being sought as a third choice, to cover for Jordan Pickford and Vito Mannone, with Costel Pantilimon sold to Watford this week.

Harper told SkySports in November that he was still seeking to prolong his career, stating: "I'm keeping myself fit but it is irrelevant sadly as they have a 25-man squad which they can't add to but I've had a load of phone calls over the summer.

"I played the last seven games of the season and I enjoyed last year. I kept four clean sheets in nine Premier League games, not bad for an old man."

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce knows Harper from his brief spell in charge at Newcastle United, and Harper was positive about his hire by the Black Cats last Autumn, reported by the Chronicle to have told SkySports it was a 'cracking appointment'.

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