Ex-Fulham shot-stopper has labelled Cottagers goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga as one of the best in the second tier after his summer move, with the 52-year-old speaking to Football FanCast.
The Argentine arrived at Craven Cottage last month on a free transfer, having been released from Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the summer on the expiration of his deal in north London.
He moved to Spurs from Southampton in 2017 but only made 37 competitive appearances in four seasons as he found himself stuck behind established keepers Hugo Lloris and Joe Hart in the pecking order.
Quiz: Have Fulham won or lost more against each of these 25 British teams?
Gazzaniga has been given a new lease of life under Marco Silva and a starting spot, with previous loanee Alphonse Areola returning to Paris St-Germain when his loan in west London expired and has since joined West Ham United.
Despite Areola inevitably being a miss, Mark Crossley believes they have taken a brilliant step in recruiting someone of Paulo Gazzaniga’s calibre and speaking about Fulham’s summer recruit in an interview with Football FanCast, he said: “He’s taken his time to get to where he needs to be. He’s certainly got the quality, I really like him as a goalkeeper, I think he’s a top signing.
“I think he could have had a better chance if it wasn’t for Lloris being a top goalkeeper. You look at all the goalkeepers in the Championship, would you put him in the top three? I would.”
The 29-year-old has made a great start at Craven Cottage, helping his side to take seven points from a possible nine but is yet to keep a clean sheet and will be desperate to secure his first at the weekend.
They take on Hull City at home tomorrow afternoon and although the Tigers scored four at Deepdale against Preston North End on the opening day, they haven’t managed to get on the scoresheet in their last two league games. With this in mind, Gazzaniga may not get a better chance to keep his first clean sheet for the Championship side.
This is a bold prediction from Crossley – but there’s a reason why the likes of Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur retained him even when he wasn’t playing a lot of football and Fulham could benefit hugely from having someone like the Argentine between the sticks in their quest for promotion.
West Bromwich Albion’s Sam Johnstone has to be up there as one of the best in the division as well after attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal this summer, even being the subject of a bid from West Ham United.
QPR’s Seny Dieng also deserves a mention after being touted as a potential replacement for Arsenal-bound Sheffield United star Aaron Ramsdale, with Bournemouth’s new signing Orjan Nyland also up there if he can stay on his A-game.
The great thing for Gazzaniga is the fact Marek Rodak will be keeping him on his toes as the 29-year-old’s understudy at Craven Cottage – and it would be interesting to see how he bounces back from errors after becoming a first-choice goalkeeper all of a sudden.
The more games you play, the more mistakes you’re likely to make. That’s just part and parcel of being a goalkeeper – but how bounces back from these setbacks will determine how successful his career in the English capital will be.