Arsene Wenger let Vito Mannone leave Arsenal because he deserved first-team football.

The Italian moved to Sunderland last summer and has been a stand-out player for the Black Cats this season.

Mannone joined the Gunners as a teenager and produced some promising displays for the first team but always struggled to get in front of Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski during his spell at the Club.

"At the end of the day I let Mannone go because he deserved to play somewhere"

Arsene Wenger

"I kept him here when he made a trial with me at the age of 16, and I decided to keep him here," Wenger said. "That he makes a career now, I am extremely happy for him.

"I had a big problem here, it's a nice problem to have, because I had three young goalkeepers, and all the three were top quality, with Szczesny, Fabianski and Mannone.

"At the end of the day I let Mannone go because he deserved to play somewhere."

Arsenal Membership

Join as an Arsenal Member and receive a range of exclusive benefits such as priority ticket access, subscription to Arsenal Player, a welcome pack and access to members' events with the first team squad. If you join as a Junior Gunner you have the chance of being a Matchday mascot or ball boy.

Join today and always be ahead of the game