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Arsenal loan flop comments on his Gunners experience: 'Trained with champions'

Emiliano Viviano has reflected fondly on his Arsenal adventure despite spending his time in North London on the outside looking in.

For Emilio Viviano, there’s only one club truly in his heart - Fiorentina. Look no further than the tattoo of a club symbol on his chest and the fact that he named his daughter Viola.

The Florence native came through the youth ranks at his hometown club, but would spend the first eight years of his professional career away from his beloved Stadio Artemio Franchi.

In the summer of 2012, he finally got his chance to return. Loaned to the Viola by Palermo, the goalkeeper immediately stepped into the starting role between the sticks.

But as fate would have it, the club Viviano lived for declined to take up the option to sign him permanently for €7.5 million last summer. Instead, he was loaned out again - this time to Arsenal.

Despite being forced to leave Fiorentina, it looked a good move for Viviano. He could compete with Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski for minutes and possibly win a place in Italy’s World Cup squad.

However, the 28-year-old ultimately spent the entire campaign watching Arsenal from afar. Viviano amassed a total of zero competitive appearances as the Gunners went on to lift the FA Cup.

Though after securing a switch to Sampdoria this week, Viviano spoke kindly of his days at the Emirates.

He said: “It was a great experience. I learned a lot even if I didn’t play, now I’m at an important team.

“I trained with some champions [at Arsenal] and learned the language. English football is a different world.”

Viviano moves to Sampdoria to replace outgoing Argentine World Cup hero Sergio Romero, who himself spent last term away on loan at Monaco.

The Italian has plenty to prove after being cast aside by Fiorentina and never asserting himself in North London - with Sampdoria a solid platform from which to get back on track.

“I have a lot of desire, this is an important destination. I didn’t play for a year and now I have a lot of desire.

“I’m very happy. In Italy we are very critical of goalkeepers, we have a great history at the position and now we judge them harshly.”

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