Vito Mannone has admitted that he did not want to leave Sunderland back in 2017, in a Q and A session with The Score.
The Italian goalkeeper enjoyed four years at the Stadium of Light, having moved to Wearside six years ago from Arsenal for a bargain fee of £2 million, according to The Guardian.
And Mannone enjoyed a fine start to life in Sunderland colours, keeping 12 clean sheets during the 2013/14 Premier League campaign.
But he quickly fell out of favour when mistakes started creeping in and he was replaced by the rising star Jordan Pickford during David Moyes’ time at the helm. And, once Sunderland’s relegation from the top flight was confirmed at the end of 2016/17, Mannone was flogged to Reading.
These days, the 31-year-old is plying his trade in America with Minnesota United. But, while he is enjoying his MLS adventure, Mannone has suggested that he’d still be a Sunderland player if things had gone his way.
“I did not want to leave. Martin Bain was thinking about the financial part and wanting to sell to save the club and get some other players in,” the former Italy U21 international said.
“We spent years before fighting to be a Premier League club and had an amazing cup run (reaching the EFL Cup final in 2014).
“To hear somebody in charge (Bain) say the target was to survive in the Championship... it was not in line with what I wanted. I wanted the best for Sunderland and for myself.”
After the disastrous performances of Robbin Ruiter, Jason Steele and Lee Camp between the sticks last season, Sunderland finally have a top quality shot-stopper again in Jon McLaughlin.
They need the Scotland international to be at his best if they are to navigate the League One play-offs.
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