Vito Mannone is in line to follow in the footsteps of Sunderland team-mates Patrick van Aanholt and Jermain Defoe, with talks under way over a new contract at the Stadium of Light.
Van Aanholt penned a lucrative new four-year deal with Sunderland earlier this week to fend off interest from Crystal Palace, who had been keeping tabs on the left-back after his impressive second half of the season.
And Sunderland then confirmed yesterday that Defoe had signed a 12-month contract extension after his 15 Premier League goals last season proved crucial towards the Black Cats remaining in the Premier League.
The England international had another two years to run on the contract he penned after arriving from MLS side Toronto in a swap deal for Jozy Altidore 18 months ago, but will now be at Sunderland until 2019, taking him through to the age of 36.
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce said: “Jermain is one of the greatest goal-scorers in the history of the Premier League and is a player that every manager would want to have in their team.
“He proved that beyond doubt last season by scoring 15 league goals, he is in fantastic physical condition and we are very pleased that we have been able to extend his stay with us.”
Like van Aanholt and Defoe, goalkeeper Mannone played a key role in Sunderland remaining in the Premier League after being recalled to the starting line-up under Allardyce, and he’s in line to be rewarded with fresh terms.
The Gazette understands that preliminary discussions have begun with the Italian’s camp, although no formal offer has yet been made by Sunderland. Mannone only has a year remaining on his current deal and is currently one of the lowest-paid members of the first-team squad – earning less than half the wages of ex-Sunderland stopper Costel Pantilimon.
Sunderland would need to improve Mannone’s terms, but the ex-Arsenal man is settled and happy at the club, and does not want to leave Wearside after coming close to the exit door in the January window. Mannone was ready to leave at the turn of the year after more than a year playing second fiddle to Pantilimon, but Allardyce’s show of faith saw him return to the form which earned the Player of the Year title in 2013-14.
The rise of academy product Jordan Pickford will provide intense competition for the number one spot next season, but goalkeeper is not a position which Allardyce is expected to strengthen this summer.
If Sunderland can seal a new deal for Mannone, then the remaining priority for Allardyce on the contract front will be January signing Jan Kirchhoff.
The German only penned an 18-month contract when he arrived at Sunderland, with doubts over his fitness leading the Black Cats to adopt a cautious approach over the ex-Bayern Munich man.
But Kirchhoff was so influential on Sunderland’s survival bid that the 25-year-old needs to be tied down for the long term.