Boss delighted to enlist early recruits

by Kate Smith

Poyet happy with three new signings.

Gus Poyet is pleased with the club’s early business in the transfer market as he prepares the squad for the 2014-15 season.

Sunderland snapped up three players early in the summer break, bringing in Billy Jones, Jordi Gomez and Costel Pantilimon.

The trio’s contracts with their previous clubs were all due to expire, and all officially joined the Black Cats on July 1.

The new boys all add competition for places, with giant goalkeeper Pantilimon – who stands at 6’8” tall – set to vie with Vito Mannone for playing time.

And Poyet says its vital to have competition in goal, highlighting the injury sustained by Keiren Westwood last season, which saw Mannone take his chance.

“I think it was important to start and grab the free [agents] that you can convince early on.

“There are different situations. Pantilimon is a well-known goalkeeper – we played Manchester City three times last season and he played in two of those games.

“He will compete with Mannone. We know that Vito was outstanding last year and is a fan favourite.

“Last year Westy had an injury which kept him out for a while and you cannot be just taking a risk, so we needed to have two top goalkeepers with the help of Jordan Pickford behind too.”

Meanwhile Jones and Gomez are also in the fold and bring considerable experience to the squad having played a combined total of more than 600 games in English football.

“Billy we know well – he can play both sides and was happy to come and do the deal early, which was key for us. We are looking forward to seeing him.

“Jordi Gomez is a special player because he’s a ‘number 10’, which not too many can play in England, but because he’s been here for a while he knows what is needed.

“He’s going to bring technical quality and ability in the last third, with the understanding of the power, fitness and physicality of English football.

“He understands the way we want to play and he’s going to bring plenty of quality.”