Westwood looks set to get Sunderland lifeline

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper likely to benefit from departure of Mignolet to Liverpool, Steven Reid signs new Baggies contract

Keiren Westwood set to get his chance at Sunderland. Photograph:  Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Keiren Westwood set to get his chance at Sunderland. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

 

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is reportedly set to get his chance to impress Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio if current number one Simon Mignolet departs for Liverpool.

The Anfield club are expected to sign the Belgian international this week for a fee in the region of €10 million, and rather than spend the proceeds on a direct replacement, Sunderland appear ready to give Westwood an opportunity to prove his credentials in pre-season and sign back-up for him, instead.

The former Coventry goalkeeper has made just 12 starts since moving to the Black Cats in 2011, and his lack of first team football has led to him falling behind Millwall’s David Forde in the eyes of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni.

He had been second choice to Shay Given prior to Euro 2012 and assumed the mantle after the Donegalman’s retirement.

Eight goals conceded in three World Cup qualifiers late last year did him no favours and Forde made the position his own after Westwood pulled out of a November friendly against Greece with a groin injury.

However, while Sunderland have considered moving for Celtic’s Fraser Forster and Reading’s Alex McCarthy, Di Canio has been impressed by Westwood’s attitude and is ready to back him this summer, according to The Northern Echo.

The Manchester-born goalkeeper recently insisted he would have to consider moving on if he were not to receive some indication he would be given his chance.

That appears now to have arrived, with Sunderland preparing to cash in on Mignolet, who has already said he will not extend his contract beyond the remaining two years. That scenario would see the 25-year-old’s price drop by around 50 per cent by this time next year.

No fee has been agreed as yet for Sunderland’s player of last season, with Liverpool having had an initial offer of around €7.5m rejected, but there is optimism at Anfield that a compromise can still be struck some way closer to the €11.7m sought by the Black Cats.

That signing could impact upon José Reina’s future on Merseyside, with the Spaniard having been mooted as a replacement for Victor Valdés back at his former club, Barcelona, should the 31-year-old depart Camp Nou this summer.

Former Republic of Ireland defender Steven Reid has signed a new one-year deal at West Bromwich Albion.
 
The 32-year-old's was due to leave next month under his previous contract, but he is now preparing for his fourth season with the Baggies.
 
“I am absolutely delighted to be staying, I never wanted to leave and I am happy we have reached an agreement," he said. “I am looking forward to reporting for pre-season and hope we can build on last year’s outstanding achievement in finishing eighth in the Premier League.”
 
Wolves recruitment chief Kevin Thelwell has admitted the League One club need to "create some space" before they can buy, but Kevin Doyle's future remains unresolved amid reports linking him with Leeds United and Celtic.
 
The Republic of Ireland striker would appear one of the club's best options for generating revenue, but manager Kenny Jackett needs to speak to the forward when he returns next week. 
 
"It very much depends on what calls we have for Kevin and what Kevin thinks himself," said the Wolves boss.