In Profile: Paulo Gazzaniga

Cameron Ramsey 28th July 2021

Cam tells us about our new goalkeeper and what we can expect from our new recruit.

Joining Fulham alongside Harry Wilson on Saturday, July 24th, Paulo Gazzaniga could prove to be one of the club’s most worthwhile free transfer acquisitions in years. Let go by Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the month, the 29-year-old goalkeeper penned a two-year deal with the Whites and many view the Argentine to be our first-choice stopper for the 2021/22 Championship campaign.

With Slovakian international ‘keeper Marek Rodak to contend with, Gazzaniga will still need to prove himself if he is to be the favoured option but what his arrival certainly promotes is healthy competition. Only one can guard the sticks on a weekly basis and if Marek and Paulo are both pushing one another to their respective limits, we’re in for a jaw-dropping treat.

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Spending the back end of last season on loan at La Liga outfit Elche CF, Gazzaniga found himself in an environment he’s completely familiar with, having begun his career with Valencia CF. He never made a senior appearance for Los Murci√©lagos, however whilst competing for the club’s U19 set-up, Gillingham FC poached him on a free transfer and his rise to the Premier League commenced.

A year later, Southampton purchased Gazzaniga for ¬£2.8m and after 5 years on the south coast, with a successful loan spell at Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano in between, the stopper joined Tottenham Hotspur for an undisclosed fee. Making 37 first-team outings in North London, understudying World Cup winner Hugo Lloris for the duration, the 6’4 protector of the uprights now finds himself in SW6 with a fresh challenge for supremacy ahead and we’re all chomping at the bit to see what he can offer.

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In 162 appearances all in all, Gazzaniga has kept 48 clean sheets and is a commanding presence within the 18-yard box. Not dissimilar to a certain Alphonse Areola, the one-time Argentina international will collect ominous crosses assuredly, he’ll cover his angles scrupulously and he’ll flaunt an extraordinary agility for a man of his stature. consistency may be a stumbling block, but it always is for a ‘keeper that’s out of proper, uninterrupted matchday practice.

Even having Gazzaniga at Motspur Park will raise the bar for Rodak, as well as Fabricio Agosto and truthfully, with the shot-stopping personnel we have at our disposal, we have balance, contention and competence. He’s featured in the Champions League, he’s had to brush off the reality of being surplus but now, with a chance to shine in a side that will hopefully push for promotion, he can aspire to be the point-saving figurehead he’s ultimately destined to be on the banks of the Thames.