If you haven’t heard by now, Vito Mannone is off to Major League Soccer. Due for a medical on Friday, reports from football.london and Italian celebrity-football-journalist Gianluca Di Marzio indicate he’ll spend the entire 2019 season in the Upper Midwest.
All parties should benefit from this deal - and here’s why:
It’s a win for Reading
Getting Mannone off the books in January was vital to stop the PR bleeding that had come about from the keeper’s extremely dissatisfied Instagram message that leaked earlier in the year, in which he talked about being excommunicated from the first-team squad. In fairness to Reading, we had (and arguably still have) too many goalkeepers, and a relegation battle isn’t necessarily the time to be nice.
But it meant the Italian had no future in West Berkshire and, once January ended, getting rid seemed implausible. To still be able to send Mannone on a loan spell to America, albeit to a team highly unlikely to be paying much of his wages at all due to their stature and MLS rules, gets this particular monkey off the squad’s back.
It’s a win for Minnesota
A relatively new team in MLS, Minnesota can go into their third season with a player that people might actually have heard of. Unlike the big guns of Atlanta United, LA Galaxy and so on, this is a team that fights among the lower half of the table and a player of Mannone’s quality should be a genuine boost for them.
Admittedly, I’m no expert on The Loons (thanks, Wikipedia), but as they move into their new football-specifc stadium for the new season, this is exactly the type of signing I’d want them to make if I were a fan.
It’s a win for Mannone
‘Minnesota nice’ is a common saying to describe the Canadian border state and CNBC rated it as the third best US state to live in last year. This might seem pretty irrelevant but, if I were Vito, I’d be genuinely looking forward to a loan spell getting to know this part of the world. It’s a fresh start, especially after his recent family bereavement.
On the footballing side of things, this should be a place he can get first-team action in a team and league that are growing. No longer will eye-catching displays in MLS get you a disdainful shrug, now there is genuine potential for a move to a bigger American team or even back to Europe should the 30-year-old find form in the months ahead.
It’s a win for the fans
Reading fans have understandably grown to like Mannone since he arrived 18 months ago. An affable bloke off the pitch, from what we get to see, he showed passion on it and we can send him off with our best wishes. In reality, his performances were inconsistent and errors did abound, factors which makes this is also a good move to give Emiliano Martinez, Sam Walker, Anssi Jaakola, and our academy products a bit more space to work.
And, still, we’ll always have those last minute penalty saves against Leeds and QPR...