Schwarzer short of options as Sunderland sign Mannone

Mark Schwarzer is determined to play Premier League football next season after leaving Fulham, but with Vito Mannone joining Sunderland, relegated QPR could now be his best bet

Sunderland have signed goalkeeper Vito Mannone from Arsenal on a two-year deal, seemingly closing off another potential destination for Socceroo Mark Schwarzer.

The Black Cats had appeared to be one of the few teams in a position to offer Schwarzer first-team Premier League football next season after his departure from Fulham.

Sunderland lost Belgium international Simon Mignolet to Liverpool last month, leaving manager Paolo Di Canio with just one senior goalkeeper; the relatively inexperienced Keiren Westwood.

Mannone, 25, has now been recruited for an undisclosed fee by fellow Italian Di Canio to provide competition for Westwood.

Although there could still be room for a safe pair of hands at the Stadium of Light in the form of Schwarzer, he would not be guaranteed a starting berth, and the 40-year-old can ill-afford to find himself on the sidelines ahead of the World Cup in June next year.

Another option disappeared this week when promoted Hull City agreed a deal to sign Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor from Besiktas.

The majority of Premier League clubs have a settled first-choice goalkeeper, meaning Schwarzer may have to revise his target of playing top-flight football in England next season, with the Championship looming as an alternative. understands Arsenal are one of several clubs in talks to sign Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar from relegated Queens Park Rangers.

If, as expected, Cesar leaves, Schwarzer could be tempted to link-up with his former Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren, now Harry Redknapp's assistant at Loftus Road.

Schwarzer played under McClaren with distinction for five years between 2001 and 2006 at the Riverside Stadium, and joining another west London club would mean avoiding relocating to another part of the UK or Europe.

Robert Green, a 12-cap England international, is also on QPR's books, but struggled for form during his limited appearances last season.

Former Australia international Mark Bosnich has called on Schwarzer to consider a move to the A-League if he fails to secure Premier League football.

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