Stadium of Light club begin contract talks with much-wanted goalkeeper.
Sunderland are to open contract talks with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in the hope of heading off transfer interest from Arsenal and Manchester United.
Earlier in the week, Mignolet’s representative Guy Vandersmissen revealed that the stopper may be forced to quit the north-east club, who he has been with for the last three seasons having joined from Sint Truiden, at the end of the season to boost his chances of representing Belgium at the 2014 World Cup.
Tickets are now available for upcoming Premier League fixtures including Arsenal tickets, Manchester United tickets, Manchester City tickets, Newcastle United tickets, Liverpool FC tickets and Tottenham Hotspur tickets
BUY PREMIER LEAGUE TICKETS with fanatix
That news has alerted both Arsenal and Manchester United, who have both shown an interest in the 24-year-old who has caught the eye with his performances for Sunderland which has seen him make the most saves of any goalkeeper in the Premier League this season.
But, speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Premier League clash with Fulham, Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill revealed the club are to open discussions over a new bumper deal for the Belgian international.
“We would really like to try to tie him down to a longer contract,” O’Neill is quoted as saying by Sportinglife. “There have been talks about that for some time, but I think we would really want to try to firm that up as soon as we could. I think he’s receptive to it.”
Vandersmissen claimed that Mignolet is considering his future with Sunderland because he has so far failed to make the number one jersey with Belgium his own. He is currently the understudy to Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, who is on loan with Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
But Mignolet himself distanceed himself from himself from the transfer talk and insisted he can win his place back in the Belgian team while at the Stadium of Light.
“I felt I wanted to communicate with the club’s fans following the media reaction to comments made by my representative, which I feel were taken out of context and not a true reflection,” he told Sunderland’s official website.
“Of course, my ambition is to regain the number one spot with my national team, but I feel I can do that with Sunderland. I was playing as Belgium’s number one a year ago and hopefully that can be the case in the future. I am happy at Sunderland – a club I am proud to represent.”