Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No 1 Priority Facing Black Cats Will Be Signing Keeper; THE AGENDA: Will Sunderland's Goal Be in Safe Hands in the Absence of Mannone? Sunderland Are Left with Very Little Experience in Goal Now Vito Mannone Has Left. Stuart Jamieson Looks at Who Black Cats Boss Simon Grayson Could Turn To

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No 1 Priority Facing Black Cats Will Be Signing Keeper; THE AGENDA: Will Sunderland's Goal Be in Safe Hands in the Absence of Mannone? Sunderland Are Left with Very Little Experience in Goal Now Vito Mannone Has Left. Stuart Jamieson Looks at Who Black Cats Boss Simon Grayson Could Turn To

Article excerpt

WHEN Jordan Pickford left Sunderland for Everton at the start of the summer, you could forgive Sunderland fans for having mixed feelings.

While most didn't like to see the club sell one of its best young players - and a local lad at that - there was also a sense of realism around Wearside. The Black Cats could not realistically have turned down a deal which could be worth up to PS30m, and denied Pickford the chance to remain in the Premier League.

And in the back of everyone's minds was also the fact the club still had Vito Mannone.

The Italian has his critics among the red-and-white faithful, but he's certainly not a bad second option to fall back on.

However, the fact that the ex-Arsenal shot-stopper has now left the club to join Reading has cast a different light on Sunderland's goalkeeping situation.

If the options before were limited, they are now positively perilous. Two goalkeepers will remain at the club, of course - Mika and Max Stryjek. Both are largely untested, in Stryjek's case due to his young age.

Mika joined on transfer deadline day in the summer of 2016, but even though Sunderland had to persuade the authorities to grant them an extension to get the deal done, the keeper himself then failed to persuade David Moyes he was worth a place in his team.

Yes, he was signed as back-up, but only appearances in the Checkatrade Trophy followed.

Stryjek is a very different case, and is one of the many youngsters coming through the club's academy who could well have a big future in the game.

But to throw him in as the Sunderland's No 1 in a crucial Championship season could be a lot to ask of the 21-year-old Pole.

So who could Simon Grayson turn to? Well, John Ruddy would have been an option if the former Norwich man hadn't signed for Wolves just last week.

Here, however, are four players who could help solve Sunderland's goalkeeping issues: ROB GREEN EXPERIENCED and available, Green could leave Leeds this summer after the Elland Road club signed Felix Wiedwald from Werder Bremen. …

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