Minnesota United has five of its six primary defenders under contract for next season, and the remaining one could be named MLS goalkeeper of the year on Thursday.
Mannone came to the Loons on a one-year loan from Reading FC, a club in England’s second division. He is under contract with Reading until July 2020, so United would have to negotiate a transfer with that club to keep the 31-year-old Italian in Minnesota at the start of next season.
Once Minnesota was bounced from the MLS Cup playoffs on Sunday, Mannone said he’s “open” to coming back to United.
“I want to relax, talk to my family, my agent, talk to the club that owns me, and obviously we have to talk to Minnesota, so it’s many things that need to happen,” Mannone said. “Really, I’m not the main guy that is deciding everything at the moment.”
One source told the Pioneer Press that there hasn’t been movement on a potential acquisition of Mannone this week. Before Sunday’s season-ending 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy at Allianz Field, the Loons had expected to play Thursday in the second round of the playoffs.
Another source said, “plenty of time for us to get that sorted.”
Mannone, MLS’s third highest-paid goalkeeper at $594,000 in 2019, played all 3,060 minutes in 34 league games this season and was second in MLS with 129 saves. He spearheaded a defense that allowed 1.26 goals per game, which was down from the 2.07 the club allowed across its first two seasons.
“I’ve done my maximum,” Mannone said. “I’ve put my heart out every game, and it’s been an amazing adventure, an amazing season. I receive back lots of love from the fans and the club gave me the opportunity to have a great season, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Mannone’s name could be on MLS’s top prize for goalkeepers Thursday. He’s a finalist, along with New York City’s Sean Johnson and D.C. United’s Bill Hamid.
While the Loons’ postseason ended abruptly, Mannone called 2019 a success for the club.
“I had a few (objectives) in my head when I came here, and I thought we almost reach every (one), personally and as a team,” Mannone said. “I wanted to make the playoffs, we did it. I wanted to go for a trophy, and we almost did it in the (U.S. Open Cup). It was an excellent run. In general and personally, I’m very happy. I played every game, and it was important for me to feature for this club and give something back to the club and the staff that gave me the chance.”