Vito Mannone joins Sunderland

Christof Koepsel

Not seen as a surprise, Mannone leaves Arsenal to join up fellow countryman Paolo Di Canio as they look to improve on last season's disappointing finish

No matter how well Vito Mannone played at the beginning of last season, spelling the injured Wojciech Szczesny, it was easy to get the sense that his long-term future belonged at Arsenal. Any competitor worth his or her salt wants to play in as many matches as possible, and while Mannone isn't a bad keeper by any stretch of the imagination, he's committed a touch too many gaffes for a club who's desperate to stop the braying masses demanding silverware.

With all that in mind, yesterday's news that Sunderland purchased the rights to Mannone doesn't come as a shock and should to many others. At Arsenal, he's a serviceable backup; not to say anything against Sunderland, but he'll be at the perfect club that can offer him weekly opportunities to shine and prove his talent. He was vocal, after his return to the bench once Szczesny regained full health, that he was looking for more playing time, and it was pretty apparent that after eight years at Arsenal and only a total of 26 first-team appearances that he wasn't getting it under Arsene Wenger.

Now that he's moved on, this means that Arsenal have Szczesny, a kinda-sorta in-limbo Lukasz Fabianski and Damian Martinez. This doesn't exactly fill me with the sort of confidence one would like heading into a new season, and with Mannone's departure the rumors with QPR's Julio Cesar should only speed up. Of course, once Arsenal finalize another well-publicized transfer.

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