If there’s one thing MOMS has been uneasy about Villa (actually there’s many things), it’s going into a very important season with such an inexperienced goalkeeper being lined up to be the Aston Villa number one.
While some fans on social media froth with excitement over any signing, whatever their actual credentials, more rational fans will know that giving the No.1 jersey to 21-year-old Pierluigi Gollini, does carry some risk.
If any position benefits from experience, it’s the goalkeeper position. It used to be a case that a goalkeeper was only considered to be in his full prime in his 30’s, although nowadays, it’s more late-20’s.
Gollini’s experience so far is limited to his 30 games for the Italian outfit Hellas Verona, who suffered relegation from Serie A last season.
Having said that, of course, Gollini doesn’t need to be the finished article, but in terms of a proper Villa promotion push, the resurfacing of the Costel Pantilimon rumour did actually make sense, following Brad Guzan’s departure to Middlesbrough. Although, it is as likely to be a rehashed old story by the Daily Mirror, simply on the basis that Guzan had left, to double their clickbait.
August Deadline Potential
While not MOMS’ first choice of a keeper, if Villa were indeed buying one, at £2million, the 29-year-old Pantilimon would be a decent enough option to give Gollini competition to push him on.
The six foot eight Romanian would be an upgrade on Mark Bunn and certainly has a lot more presence. The Watford keeper’s wages could be a stickler though and would he really move because he didn’t fancy wrestling the Watford’s number one shirt off Heurelho Gomes?
Gollini Faith Test
There is no way Pantilimon would move to Villa to play number two to a 21-year-old and potentially accept less money than his Premier League wage. So, if Villa are chasing him, that would mean that Gollini isn’t viewed as the finished article yet by Di Matteo, which would make sense considering his age.
David de Gea is probably the best known keeper in recent years to become a high profile 21-year-old number one. In his first few seasons, his lack of experience did find him out repeatedly and it initially cast question marks over his head. Had Sir Alex’s judgment finally deserted him on goalkeepers and dented his track record? Normally the former United boss took pride in United possessing a keeper that would earn the team around 15 points a season – ala Edwin Van Der Sar or Peter Schmeichel.
While de Gea later became a media darling due to his Hollywood saves, some United fans are still unconvinced, although that’s perhaps down to his unconventional ‘legs-first’ style. In short, a couple of seasons of experience helped immensely.
Speaking of Schmeichel, his son, Kaspar, in his early 20’s didn’t look like he’d become a top class keeper. but with experience and development he blossomed impressively into a first class and title-winning keeper.
Villa have normally had a proud tradition of decent keepers and in recent seasons, they have let that slip. It could be argued in terms of Premier League keepers, that in Brad Guzan they had a number 2 as a number 1 and in Mark Bunn, a number 3 as a number 2.
Mark Bosnich Precedent
If there are no other keepers to come in to Villa Park during the summer transfer window, there is a ray of hope that Gollini can do the job. Mr Mark Bosnich.
Bosnich, was something of an exception to the rule, as he was really making an impact aged 21 in the Villa team that went all the way to Wembley and won the League Cup in 1994. MOMS followed Villa and Bosnich’s antics most of the way on the road to Wembley and Bosnich with his numerous penalty saves fast became a favourite.
He displaced a real Villa favourite in Nigel Spink on route to being Villa’s youthful number one.
A couple of seasons later,while Villa were under the management of Brian Little, Villa’s Australian keeper was regarded as one of the best in the Premier League.
Ironically, Bosnich burnt himself out (literally) with his off the field antics, by the time he was approaching what should have been his ‘goalkeeper’ peak. While his demise was unfortunate, at least Villa got his best years. A period that will certainly provide hope for both Gollini and Villa supporters.
Still, if Villa are serious about promotion this season, they shouldn’t take any chances. Proper experienced competition for Gollini will only help the cause.
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