Alexia Furmanski makes her Golazo debut with an update on Paulo Gazzaniga’s Spurs career to date and whether the Murphy-born stopper has done enough to convince Jose Mourinho he has a future at the club…
The 28-year-old Argentine, Paulo Gazzaniga, joined Tottenham from Southampton in August of 2017 on a five-year contract.A few months into signing, he made his first appearance for Spurs, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace. Tottenham’s former manager, Mauricio Pochettino, praised the Argentine and rated his first performance for the team as excellent. Gazzaniga quickly became the team’s second goalie, ahead of Michel Vorm. The first spot is of course reserved for team captain Hugo Lloris.
After Lloris dislocated his elbow in a 3-0 defeat against Brighton earlier in the season, Gazzaniga finally had his long-awaited chance. During Lloris’ absence, Gazzaniga started in 25 out of 37 matches. One of his best performances came in October 2019, in a match against Liverpool, where Paulo made twelve saves – the most by any goalkeeper that season. Although Tottenham was defeated 2-1, without Gazzaniga’s incredible saves, the score would have been much different. In January 2020, Paulo had another big night, denying Watford’s Troy Deeney from the penalty spot to earn a draw.
However, not all of his performances were up to par. Gazzaniga had his fair share of conceded goals and careless mistakes. He made a crucial mistake in the Spurs’ clash with Norwich at Carrow Road, where he let Mario Vrancic’s shot squirm past him and in a clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Gazzaniga was at fault for the home side’s first goal. The Spurs’ goalie failing to stop Marcus Rashford’s shot, which went right under his arm, leading to a Red Devils victory.
In December, Gazzaniga got a yellow card after he conceded a penalty to Chelsea at White Hart Lane by clattering into Marcos Alonso inside the box, kicking the air in true kung-fu manner. Although he was let off only with a yellow card, his dreadful performance cost Spurs the game. This mistake, and other avoidable errors made during his tenure with Spurs, meant competing against World Cup winner Hugo Lloris for the number one spot was a foregone conclusion.
As soon as Lloris returned from injury, Gazzaniga was understandably back on the bench. The club seems to think that Gazzaniga is not cut out to be the first choice for the long term. This makes the goalkeeper position an area Tottenham can’t afford to ignore for too much longer. Transfer season is creeping in, and there are rumors about fortifying the goalie position with Hugo Lloris’ career coming to its final chapters.
It is important to note that due to the current crisis, like most other teams, Spurs’ budget might be limited given their non-existent income during the shutdown. Spurs’ transfer budget is tight, which will make loan moves, player swaps and free transfers the highlight of this transfer season. The goal-keeping position might not be a priority to the club right now, and even if it is, their budget might prevent them from landing a top talent to fill Lloris’ shoes.
The most likely departure for Tottenham’s goalkeepers is Michel Vorm, whose contract ends June 30. The other two young backups are Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman, two 21-year-old’s that are not Premier League or Champion League ready. Lloris is one of the few experienced winners in the squad and will most probably not leave the club for another year or two. The club is currently looking at a few potential transfers, such as Andre Onana from Ajax, Burnley’s Joe Hart, Wolves’ John Ruddy and the older Ben Foster. All keepers would challenge, if not overtake, Gazzaniga’s position as second goalie if signed.
The Argentine, did not blow Mourinho away, but as mentioned, is a solid back up who still might have the potential to improve. However, in the short-term, he will obviously not become first choice and must decide if he is happy and comfortable being a back-up. Although he has two years left in his contract, Gazzaniga did express previous interest in goalkeeping for Boca Juniors, back in Argentina, saying “I am a fan and I would like to play one day at the club.” Some fans argue that the only real Spurs supporters that’ll miss him are the female ones…
If Gazzaniga is not satisfied with his current situation, he should consider a move to another European club, possibly as a loan within the Premier League, to further his career and reach his peak level. He still has much to offer and can perfect his rusty skills to continue playing in Europe where pay will be much more lucrative. Who knows? He might even become Lloris’ heir to the Tottenham goal. Boca can wait, and I’m not saying that because I’m a River Plate fan.
Alexia Furmanski is an Argentinean born, Miami raised, soccer fanatic. When she’s not hunting for the cities best restaurants, you can find her screaming at the TV, rooting for River Plate or Tottenham – or if she’s really lucky: finding cheap flights to follow them wherever they play.