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Minnesota United signs Reading keeper Vito Mannone on year-long loan

Vito Mannone looks on during Reading's Championship match against Blackburn Rovers.
Vito Mannone has joined Minnesota United on a season-long loan.

Minnesota United announced on Sunday that it has signed goalkeeper Vito Mannone on a season-long loan from Championship club Reading.

The 30-year-old former Italy U21 international is expected to supplant Bobby Shuttleworth as the Loons' No. 1, and allow No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft and national champion at University of Maryland Dayne St. Clair to potentially go out on loan in search of first-team minutes.

"The most important thing is we have added another player who has vast experience and has played at a really high level," said MNUFC head coach Adrian Heath. "He's played in the Premier League, the Championship, some very difficult leagues to play in. He's been at big clubs and he knows what it feels like to play under tremendous pressure.

"As a player he's really competent at all aspects of his game, he's good playing in traffic, coming out for crosses, he's good with his feet. He has all the things we've been looking for in a goalkeeper."

Minnesota has been on the market for a new goalkeeper all offseason, having come close to signing Boca Juniors' 23-year-old backstop Agustin Rossi last month, only for reports of domestic violence raised by a former partner to reemerge and end the MLS club's interest. Twenty-seven-year-old Finland international Walter Viitala, who last played for Malmo, was brought in on trial this preseason but was not offered a contract.

After leaving Atalanta's youth academy for Arsenal in 2005, Mannone carved out a 13-plus-year career in England. His eight-year spell in North London yielded seven first-team appearances and three loan spells in the Championship, before signing for Sunderland in 2013, where he spent four seasons.

He joined Reading in the summer of 2017, making 41 appearances in narrowly avoiding relegation to League One by three points. He made six competitive appearances this season, but none since Sept. 1.

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