Pierluigi Gollini arrived at Aston Villa from Hellas Verona in the summer of 2016 with a reputation for being one of the most talented of an exciting crop of young Italian shot-stoppers. In fact, some had even tipped the former Manchester United youngster to be Gianluigi Buffon’s long-term successor for both Juventus and Italy.
Though it’s fair to say Steve Bruce didn’t buy into the hype. Gollini was Villa’s number one when Bruce took over from Roberto Di Matteo in October but, after a series of errors, lost his place to Mark Bunn.
When Sam Johnstone arrived on loan in January from Man United, Gollini was out, returning to Italy on an 18-month loan deal with Atalanta.
On the face of it, Gollini’s move has worked out pretty well. While Villa finished 13th in the Championship last season, Serie A surprise packages Atalanta finished fourth in the Italian top flight and qualified for Europe for the first time in 26 years.
Not that Gollini had much to do with the best season in La Dea’s history, however. The Italy Under-21 international made just four Serie A appearances for Atalanta between January and May, albeit keeping three clean sheets, and has started just once in 2017/18 – a draw with Chievo in September.
Albanian Etrit Berisha is established as Atalanta’s first-choice ’keeper and sitting on the bench hasn’t exactly helped Gollini restore his reputation after that ill-fated and short-lived spell in England.
Whether the Bergamo-based high-flyers see a future for Gollini at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia remains to be seen. Because, for now, Gollini appears to be stuck in limbo between one club who doesn’t want him and another who doesn’t use him.
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