Antonio Mirante, Roma’s new goalkeeper, celebrates his 35th birthday today.
He may have been brought in as a backup, but the experienced Serie A stopper can have a major impact on this team.
This summer, Roma lost two keepers. Second-choice Lukasz Skorupski left for Bologna in search of more playing time, and veteran Bogdan Lobont retired at the age of 40. The form of Alisson had frozen Skorupski out of the team, while Lobont decided it was finally time to hang up the gloves after an extensive playing career.
As Skorupski headed for Bologna, Antonio Mirante came the other way. It was a shrewd signing from Roma that could go under the radar, given the high-profile acquisitions of Javier Pastore and Justin Kluivert. But Mirante can bring a lot to this team.
Mirante has the right mix of attributes that means he can replace Skorupski and Lobont in one move. With 11 consecutive years of Serie A experience under his belt, he brings the knowledge and the leadership that was lost with the retirement of Lobont – something that was far more important to the club than people on the outside may have realised.
But unlike Lobont, he is likely to play, offering decent competition to first-choice Alisson. Mirante has been brought in as the number two, the role played by Skorupski last season. And whilst Skorupksi was desperate to play more, it seems Mirante will be happy with his role as a backup.
At this stage of his career, and at a club of this magnitude, he knows he is not expected to be the first-choice. His experience means he will accept this, in a way that a younger keeper like Skorupski, quite understandably, wouldn’t have. This will allow Alisson to flourish even more as number one next season (if he stays at the club) and will give him a new mentor to learn from.
We may not see much of Mirante on the pitch – he will probably be limited to Coppa Italia appearances barring any injury or suspension to Alisson – but he is a good enough keeper to rely upon when needed. He has made more than 300 appearances in those 11 consecutive years in Serie A, establishing himself as one of the league’s best Italian keepers despite never being called up to the national team. He has made more than enough saves during that time to show his quality.
When he signed for Roma, he admitted that this is the “right moment in my career” to make this step. Mirante acknowledges the role he has been brought in to play, but is also well aware of the qualities he can bring to the pitch when required. He also adds to the Italian influence in the team, which has been lacking a little over the past few seasons.
Mirante’s signing may not bring the same hype as the likes of Pastore, Kluivert or even Bryan Cristante, but the effect that he can have on Roma should not be underestimated.
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