Vito Mannone is up against Mika and Jordan Pickford for a starting place. Picture credit: Lynne Cameron/EMPICS Sport

Vito Mannone is up against Mika and Jordan Pickford for a starting place. Picture credit: Lynne Cameron/EMPICS Sport

Out-of-favour Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone, has been been linked with Aston Villa, by noted and well sourced Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.

In an article posted today, Di Marzio states that a move to Villa may be likely due to the very likely departure of Italian Villa goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini.

Gollini, who has struggled at Villa this season since his arrival from Hellas Verona, is seemingly exploring an exit strategy back to his home country.

Mannone would be a fine capture for Villa, but he is still held in high regard at Sunderland.

He certainly started the season as the clubs number one, however the fine form of academy graduate Jordan Pickford, along with injury, has saw Mannone on the sidelines for most of the season.

A loan move may be preferred for Sunderland, but with the emergence of Pickford perhaps Mannone may move to secure a number one spot elsewhere.