Costel checks in

by Stuart Vose

New boy: "This is a very important move for me."

Towering stopper Costel Pantilimon is relishing a new chapter in his career after sealing a move to Sunderland.

The Romanian picked up a Barclays Premier League winners’ medal with Manchester City last season and has agreed a four-year deal on Wearside.

This is a good opportunity for me at a great club with fantastic fans, and I am sure I have made the right decision to come here

- Costel Pantilimon

“This is a good opportunity for me at a great club with fantastic fans, and I am sure I have made the right decision to come here,” the 27-year-old said.

“It’s strange that I played against Sunderland for City last season. I’m happy to be here; I really feel this.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a great period and I hope to have great results.”

Pantilimon – the club’s third summer signing – will battle with Vito Mannone for the number one spot in 2014-15.

Mannone won the club’s player of the year award last season and his new team-mate says the competition will help the Black Cats to push on.

“I said when I left City that I am here to play and help this team.

Pantilimon facts

  • At 6'8", he is the tallest player in the league
  • Romanian international with 18 caps
  • Made 18 appearances for Man City last season
  • Played against Sunderland in 2014 Capital One Cup final

“I know Vito is a great keeper. We will fight to help this team, which is the most important thing.

“This is a very important move for me. I chose to come here not only because I feel it, but because I also think it’s a great opportunity to improve and work with a great head coach and great players.”

The keeper witnessed the start of Sunderland’s run to Barclays Premier League survival first-hand – he was on City’s bench for the Black Cats’ 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

That result was followed by four straight wins, leaving Pantilimon impressed with the mental strength evident on Wearside.

“The team has strong characters – only like that can you do things in difficult moments,” he explained.

“When Sunderland came to City last season they made a good result, and the wins against Chelsea and Manchester United were great performances – especially when the table was so tight.

“When you play against three of the biggest teams in the league it’s important to have strong characters.”

Watch the full interview with Costel on SAFSee now.