Costel Pantilimon has fuelled speculation he will leave Manchester City this summer after admitting he is flattered to be linked with Fiorentina, reports Sky Sports.

The back-up goalkeeper has been heavily linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium, as he continues his search for regular first-team football.

Pantilimon has proved to be a more than capable understudy for first-choice stopper Joe Hart when called upon, but is now looking to establish himself as number one elsewhere, if the opportunity isn't going to come with Manchester City.

Having featured in every FA Cup game this campaign, the Romanian goalkeeper was controversially dropped by Roberto Mancini for Sunday's Wembley final against Wigan Athletic.

City went on to lose the game 1-0, and it proved to be Mancini's final game in charge, after he was sacked by the club's board late last night.

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is now odds-on favourite to succeed the Italian, meaning that the future of a number of fringe players at Manchester City - including Pantilimon - will continue to be shrouded in doubt, until an appointment has been made, and talks held with the new manager.

"My experience with City hasn't closed, but I want to speak with the management," Pantilimon told La Nazione. "I am 26 years old, I'm in the middle of my career and I cannot be happy to play five games a season.

"I thought I would play at least the FA Cup final against Wigan, but we all know how it went."

Asked specifically about speculation he could move to Italy to test himself in Serie 'A' next season, the 6ft 8in stopper added: "The interest of Fiorentina? My agent deals with this, I just think of working and improving.

"But getting in Serie A would be a dream and some national team-mates, such as Lobont and Chivu, spoke well about Florence.

"And then I met (Matija) Nastasic, a great defender. Let me say that I am happy that two players like (David) Pizarro and (Stefan) Savic have found their feet in Fiorentina.

"I met them here at City and they were on the fringes while now they are in the centre of a project."


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