Former Arsenal goalkeeper, Vito Mannone, has signed for AS Monaco on a free after leaving Reading earlier this summer at the end of his contract.
Hands up if you’d completely forgot Don Vito was still in England? Other hand up if you can’t say his name without also singing I AM VITO MANNONE to the tune of Chesney Hawkes?
Good, now we can continue.
The Italian keeper, who is still only 32, has signed a two-year deal with the Ligue 1 side.
Sporting Director Paul Mitchell had the following to say on the move: “We are happy to welcome Vito Mannone to AS Monaco. After Kevin Volland, the arrival of Vito shows our desire to bring in quality players but also with experience in a squad that has a number of young talents, with the aim of finding the right balance and a good mix of potential and experience.
“Vito has shown a high level of performances in his experiences in various leagues and I am convince that he will bring a lot to the squad.”
The player himself said after signing, “I am proud to join AS Monaco and to have the opportunity to experience a new league. I am very happy to join this talented squad. I look forward to meeting my new teammates and giving my best to help the club achieve its goals.”
Mannone left Arsenal in 2013 (yes, it was that long ago) when he signed for Sunderland. Arsenal received £2.16m for him and he stayed there for four years, playing 80 times for the Black Cats, more than he’s ever made for any of his other clubs.
There have been a few of those on Vito’s road to Monaco.
From Sunderland he moved to Reading who sent him on loan to Esbjerg fB in Norway when he returned from loan in the States with Minnesota.
Life, for Vito Mannone, has been one consisting mostly of loan moves which began when Arsenal signed him from Atalanta in 2005 for just £450k.
We sent him to Barnsley in 2006 and Hull in 2010 and 2012.
In total, Mannone made 23 appearances for Arsenal during his eight years at the club but will be remembered for his run in the team during the 12/13 season when he played nine Premier League games and some Arsenal fans wondered, in all seriousness, if he shouldn’t be Arsenal number one ahead of Wojciech Szczesny or Lukas Fabianski.
His most memorable performance for Arsenal, however, came against Fulham in 2009, when he pulled off a string of excellent saves to preserve Arsenal’s clean sheet.
Speaking back in 2016, Mannone revealed that he did not have a ‘human relationship’ with Arsene Wenger.
“With him [Wenger], I didn’t have a great human relationship,” Mannone told Gazetta dello Sport.
“He never believed in me, but when I played with Sunderland at the Emirates after that fantastic evening at Old Trafford [when he saved two penalties in Capital One Cup semi-final], he said: ‘I have to compliment you, you are a great goalkeeper’.
“His words were sincere. They made me happy.”
Keepers back then had a habit of becoming much better after they left Arsenal and Gerry Peyton but, still, Mannone never really did show what it takes to make it at a club like Arsenal.