Emiliano Viviano spoke kindly of his time at the Emirates back in August, but in reality the Italian lived something of a nightmare in North London.
Landing with Arsenal on loan from Palermo after being spurned by his beloved Fiorentina last summer, the Premier League looked to be a solid opportunity for Viviano.
Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski stood in his way for playing time. However, as an international-calibre goalkeeper, Viviano was expected to at least compete for minutes.
What ensued instead was a lost season for the 28-year-old. In a full term with the Gunners, he failed to make a single appearance for the first team.
Upon his return to Italy a few months ago, he was quickly shipped off by Palermo to Sampdoria on loan again – calling his Arsenal experience a valuable one despite its poverty.
But this time around, things appear to be working out for Viviano. He’s quickly claimed the starting job at Marassi and has played his part in the Blucerchiati’s undefeated run to begin the campaign.
And what’s more is that Viviano is succeeding at the expense of a player coming directly off of World Cup heroics – Sergio Romero.
The Argentine had been expected to leave the Blucerchiati this summer, having spent the previous year on loan at Monaco with the Genoese club unhappy with his high wages.
But despite strong links with both Liverpool and Manchester United in the run-up to deadline day, Romero stayed on at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Boss Sinisa Mihajlovic has continually opted to field Viviano even as Romero starred in Brazil for Argentina – and has seemingly been proven right by the Italian’s form.
The change of scenery and decreased pressure at Sampdoria has certainly served Viviano well, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility he could win a permanent move.
As for Romero, an exit in January is only looking more likely every time the former Arsenal man takes up his mantle between the pipes in a Doria shirt.
Perhaps a move to Manchester United or Liverpool as cover for David de Gea or Simon Mignolet will materialise when the winter transfer window rolls around, as Viviano doesn’t look like relinquishing his place in the team anytime soon.