When Roma signed Daniel Fuzato back in the summer of 2018, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who greeted the move with a shoulder shrug and an ambivalent “okay.” But, fresh off successive seasons with stellar play between the sticks—first with Wojciech Szczesny and then Alisson Becker—my curiosity soon grew. After all, Roma's record with goalkeepers under Marco Savorani was second to none, so they clearly saw something in young Fuzato; enough to keep him on the first team for two years and enough to extend his contract earlier this summer.
But there was just one problem: he never played. While he taxied between the senior team and Primavera a few times over the past two years, Fuzato was essentially a passive intern; learning the job from afar while Robin Olsen, Antonio Mirante and Pau Lopez played the lion's share of minutes. In fact, it wasn't until Roma's Round 38 victory against Juventus that we saw Fuzato in the flesh.
With Pau Lopez's job seemingly in jeopardy, there was a chance—however slight it may have been—that Fuzato would seriously be considered for the starting gig in 2020-2021, but with only one appearance under his belt, that would have been a huge gamble.
Accordingly, the club have sorted out a loan for the 23-year-old Brazilian keeper in the Portuguese league; Fuzato will spend this season with Gil Vicente in Portugal's top flight. Speaking to the club's official site—a club that shares its name with a famous playwright—Fuzato was understandably excited about this new opportunity:
I am very happy with this opportunity, my family is also happy to be here in Portugal. Coming to Roma was a dream come true, when I learned of the interest of such an important club it was like a present on my birthday which was in that week of July. The Italian one is a high level goalkeeping school. It was two years with Roma in which I learned a lot, and my performance on the pitch improved.
Despite earlier reports of a sale plus redemption formula, it appears as though Fuzato will spend only the 2020-2021 season with Gil Vicente on a free loan. The Roosters, as they're affectionately known, finished 9th last season with a -4 goal differential, so Fuzato will certainly have his work cut out for him.
Certainly, being able to speak his native tongue will make things easier for Fuzato, but we just have to hope he wins the job and remains healthy enough to make 30 or so appearances. Roma's goalkeeping situation right now is a mess, and if you believe the rumors, Roma are leaning towards a veteran to mind the gap for a year or so.
If Fuzato can win the job with Gil Vicente and come back to Roma a smarter, stronger and more experienced keeper next summer, he may be a serious candidate for the gig with Roma.