It's official. After reports in The Times over the past few days Sunderland have confirmed the signing of former City 'keeper Costel Pantilimon on a four-year contract.
A big Wearside welcome to latest signing Costel Pantilimon! pic.twitter.com/R8Rbe6OE8M— Sunderland AFC (@SAFCofficial) June 16, 2014
There was no confirmation as to whether City and/or Pantilimon were ever serious in trying to extend his tenure at the club but it is unlikely a four-year deal would have been offer, nor would four further years been attractive for him, unless he had resigned his fate to that of the permanent back up.
As I wrote in the season review, this was the season that probably confirmed to both the club and Pantilimon himself that he would never be a serious challenger to Joe Hart. Adequate as a stand-in when required on a short term basis but lacking the quality to ever be a true number one for the club.
Sunderland is an interesting destination though. Vito Mannone performed well - howler at The Etihad aside - for them last season but at the very least Pantilimon heads there with the opportunity to go into pre-season with an equal shot of the starting job from Mannone.
As for City, Richard Wright has already been re-signed but it would be a huge surprise if they didn't further enter the market. The question though will be whether this is a like for like for Pantilimon or a more direct challenger to Hart.