Sunderland have completed the signing of Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Mannone, 25, has joined Sunderland for an undisclosed fee, signing a two-year-deal at the Stadium of Light. Having joined the Gunners from Atalanta as a teenager, Mannone made 15 appearances for the club during an eight-year stay in which he also enjoyed loan spells at Hull City and Barnsley.
In need of goalkeeping cover following the sale of Simon Mignolet to Liverpool, it is understood Kieren Westwood will begin as the club's first choice custodian next season. Excited by Sunderland's potential, Mannone revealed he is also ready to do battle with Westwood for a starting place at the Stadium of Light.
"The potential [of the club] is incredible," he told the club's official website. "I have come from a big club but to be honest I don't see any difference in the facilities. From what I can see on my first day they are brilliant. To have good facilities where you can work and improve is something every club wants to achieve. The base is there and I am really happy to be here.
"I waited a long time for an opportunity like Sunderland, and for me it is a great one. I'm very excited. I am here to work hard and to show what I can do. Of course, every player knows they have competition. We live in a world of competition. I will work and do my best to be in the first eleven, and then the manager will decide. All I can do is try to show what I am capable of.
"I had a great experience at Arsenal – it was a good learning curve for me. I was really young when I joined them and straight away I was with the first team in pre-season back in 2005. Then I went through all the steps – under-18s, reserves – before reaching the first team. It has been a great experience, even I was probably a bit restricted in terms of opportunities. I learned a lot."
Previously capped by his country at Under-21 level, Mannone becomes Paolo Di Canio's fifth summer signing and will travel with the squad when they depart for their pre-season tour of Italy this weekend. Beginning their preparation back in his homeland, Di Canio is also hopeful of having one more new addition in time for the trip, as he looks to conclude the signing of Le Havre full-back Benjamin Mendy.
The French youth international is currently on Wearside to discuss a potential move according to L'Equipe after Sunderland stole a march on French giants Lyon and Marseille by agreeing a fee.
That was followed by reports from Le Havre that claimed the player was already undergoing a medical. Previously stating his desire to play in England, Mendy told RMC Sport last week: "I have always dreamt of playing in England so I am happy to be linked with English clubs. I know it is a big step to go there straight away, but if you want to progress in Europe you need to play at the top level."