clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Report: Villa seeks to fill goalkeeper void with young Italian starlet

New, comments

Villa should certainly be in the market for a new goalkeeper, with a report from Italy suggesting Roberto Di Matteo could be in for 21-year-old Hellas Verona goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini.

Hellas Verona goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini organizes his defence during a Serie A fixture at Juventus Stadium on 6 January 2016.
Hellas Verona goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini organizes his defence during a Serie A fixture at Juventus Stadium on 6 January 2016.
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

With England out of Euro 2016 and the Copa América finished, it’s time for all of us to partake in our true favourite summer pastime: combing through transfer rumours!

If there’s one position above any other Roberto Di Matteo and Aston Villa need to focus on more than any other, it may be the goalkeeper slot. Brad Guzan’s been miserable for the last 18 months or so, and Mark Bunn is a serviceable backup. A new No 1 is needed for the new term, and a report from Italy seems to indicate that a youngster might be the guy the Claret and Blues pursue.

Gianluca Di Marzio, a Sky Sport Italia reporter, has linked Villa with Pierluigi Gollini, a 21-year-old shotstopper who made 25 starts for Hellas Verona in Serie A this year. Di Marzio’s Italian-language report indicates Villa have offered €5 million (£4.2 million) for the player, who joined Verona after a two-year stint as a youth player at Manchester United.

Now, in my eyes, there’s two ways to look at this. On one hand, Villa are offering to buy the starting goalkeeper of perhaps the only club in Europe’s top five leagues that can even rival the incompetence showed by Villa this year. It took Verona until 3 February to finally win a league match — that was their 23rd chance — and they too went down bottom.

But at the same time, Gollini was far from the biggest thing wrong with Verona this year. He started all five of their Serie A wins, and when you factor in the seven draws he presided over, his club won 22 points in the 25 matches he started. Given how big of a mess the rest of the team was, that’s pretty impressive.

What’s also impressive over the course of the year were some of his shot totals; he saved four times in 2-1 wins over both Juventus and Milan, saved five in an earlier 1-1 draw with Milan and stopped all six Torino shots in a scoreless draw. With some of those performances, it shouldn’t be a shock that Everton and Napoli have reportedly monitored his progress.

Given that he’s just 21, the fact that he won the starting job at a Serie A club this year — no matter how incompetent — is pretty impressive, and the type of player Villa should probably be targeting in the transfer window. He’s only going to get better as time goes on, and goalkeeper is perhaps the one position where the club should prioritize long-term success over a short-term gain. Though if he turns out to be as good as the ESPN article linked in the previous article suggests (future Italy No 1), that would admittedly trump any expectation.

Personally, I’m a fan, but could understand any hesitation with handing over the reins to a kid that’s not even five months older than I am in such a big season.

Fancy Gollini? Want an experienced ’keeper? Let us know in the comments!