Sunderland's sale of Vito Mannone to Reading last summer is considered to be one of a number of short-sighted decisions by the Black Cats hierarchy which has the club staring at a consecutive relegation. But has he really been any good for the Royals?
It's become one of the jokes of the season as the gallows humour amongst Sunderland supporters has been roughly the only way to raise a smile as the club braces itself for League One...
...Just how on earth did Chris Coleman manage to sign a goalkeeper in Lee Camp in the January transfer window who has proven to be worse than the calamity duo of Jason Steele and Robbin Ruiter?
But if Camp has improved slightly in recent games, the comparison between his dismal stats and those of the man in the opposition net this afternoon go some way to summing up just why Sunderland will be relegated this season and Reading will probably survive.
Vito Mannone hasn't been bad at all since leaving the Stadium of Light last summer, and if he possibly didn't really want to stay, the sale to Reading and failure to adequately replace him and Jordan Pickford still stands as possibly the biggest disaster of Sunderland's season.
Only three goalkeepers have made more saves than Mannone in the Championship this season with the Italian averaging 3.2 stops per game.
Meanwhile, in his ten outings since joining Sunderland in January, Lee Camp has managed a paltry 1.8 saves per game which is less than pretty much any other goalkeeper in the division.
Black Cats sides with Camp in goal have averaged a whopping 2.6 goals per game conceded whilst Royals teams with Mannone in the net have let in an average of 1.4 strikes per match.
Admittedly, if Camp has been a chaotic culmination of cock-up and comedy, Mannone remains capable of making a mess of things himself as this sequence proves from Reading's defeat at the hands of Aston Villa the other week.
But, given what we now know about how Sunderland's season has panned out since selling Mannone and just how bad his THREE replacements have been, we really should leave the last word to Black Cats chief executive Martin Bain whose September boast about the sale of the former Arsenal stopper stands as a beacon on how to make a right royal mess of things:
"Vito is obviously a very good goalkeeper. He had a year left on his contract which was going to run down, and Sunderland would have got nothing for him.The right thing was, and this is regardless of the other circumstances, to ensure that the club protected its investment and got some money for Vito. That’s what I mean about efficiency".