His loan from Reading in the English Championship expires on Dec. 31. That means the 31-year-old Italian can go to another club on Jan. 1, and while the Loons expressed an interest in retaining Mannone, the former Arsenal goalkeeper is entertaining a return to his homeland.
“At the end of the season, my contract with Reading ends and I don't think I have a future there,” he said in an interview with CalcioMeccato.com. “I’m expecting a call from Serie A.”
Mannone grew up in Italy, inheriting Milan fandom from his late father and came up through the Atalanta youth system. Three months after his father’s death, Mannone went to Arsenal where he signed at the age of 17.
He spent short loan spells at Barnsley and Hull City before signing on with Sunderland and then Reading before arriving in MLS.
Mannone was an immediate fan favorite, finishing second in MLS in saves, with 129, while conceding the third-fewest goals in the Western Conference, 43. He posted 11 shutouts and helmed a 259-minute shutout streak during the season, while helping Minnesota reach the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs and the U.S. Open Cup final, each for the first time in team history.
"It was a great experience in which we achieved almost all the goals, arriving in the cup final and for the first time in the championship playoffs,” Mannone said. “As a goalkeeper I almost broke all the club records.”
The experience was overwhelmingly positive, especially playing at Allianz Field.
"It is an incredible show, it looks like a movie: fantastic stadiums and crazy fans, hymns and fireworks,” Mannone said. “On the pitch you play good football, the level is rising.”