Why Paulo Gazzaniga could be a key signing for Fulham
As per the report, Fulham are looking to add some top-flight experience to their ranks, with Scott Parker’s side prepared to welcome the Argentine international with the No.1 jersey at Craven Cottage.
The 28-year-old featured regularly for Tottenham during the 2019-20 season after first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris picked up a long-term shoulder injury. However, with Joe Hart joining the ship to provide more cover in that department, Gazzaniga could be deemed surplus to requirements. (h/t Telegraph)
Born in Argentina, Paulo Gazzaniga started his footballing education at Valencia in Spain but was released from the club’s youth setup in 2011 after failing to make the grade.
The 28-year-old turned professional with Gillingham in League Two before earning a move to Southampton back in the summer of 2012. Gazzaniga largely served as a back-up option between the sticks for the Saints, making just 21 PL appearances over the course of 4 seasons.
The Argentine spent the 2016-17 season on loan at Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish second-tier before reuniting with his former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham.
Gazzaniga firmly established himself as the club’s No.2 behind Lloris and went on to enjoy an extended run in the starting XI last season after the Frenchman picked up an injury.
He made 25 appearances in all competitions, keeping just 5 clean sheets. While those numbers might not be all that impressive, Gazzaniga averaged an impressive 3.3 saves per game in the PL last term at a save percentage of 69.
Why Fulham need him
Marek Rodak, who was playing his first full season for Fulham, enjoyed a wonderful campaign in the Championship last time around. The 23-year-old Slovakian giant managed as many as 15 clean sheets in 39 appearances for the Cottagers across all competitions, having usurped Marcus Bettinelli in the pecking order.
Bettinelli featured in Fulham’s relegated 2018-19 PL campaign but was unable to make a big impact. Rodak will be expected to make the step up to the top-flight after excelling in the Championship. But his lack of exposure at the highest level remains a nagging concern.
To put things into perspective, Paulo Gazzaniga has proven his worth as a reliable deputy to Hugo Lloris at Tottenham. At 28, he looks ready to take over the No.1 duties at some other club in the Premier League.
The Argentine international has accumulated 43 career appearances for Spurs and Southampton in the English top-flight. He has enough experience under his belt to come through the door at Craven Cottage as an instant upgrade on Fulham’s existing goalkeeping options.
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It is always important for promoted sides in the PL to have a reliable presence between the sticks and that’s exactly why Paulo Gazzaniga looks like a safe option for Fulham. The Argentine still has his best years ahead of him at 28, so it will be interesting to see him compete with young Rodak for the No.1 role in the Premier League.