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Aston Villa 2016-17 player preview: #1 Pierluigi Gollini

Villa’s new keeper has a big year ahead...

Aston Villa v Middlesbrough - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Aston Villa's latest goalkeeper is a bit of an enigma.

On paper, he doesn't nearly have the skills of the departed Brad Guzan and it's possible Jed Steer or Mark Bunn could offer a bit more discipline, leadership and experience at the back.

But Gollini is... Well, Pierluigi Gollini. The latest in a long line of Italian goalkeeping aristocracy which is currently headed by none other than Gianluigi Buffon.

Now, the true heir to Buffon's throne is Milan's Gianluigi Donarumma and for good reason. 'Gigou' as Milan fans call him, is a lanky, commanding presence that has forced himself into the Milan first team at the tender age of 17.

Gollini and Donarumma tell the tale of the 'Prince and the Pauper'. Donarumma has a fairly simple path to greatness whilst Gollini will have to scrape and claw his way to the top if he hopes to replace Buffon.

Where Donarumma is polished, Gollini is raw. Donarumma is a statue of confidence, whilst Gollini is a picture of eccentricity. The two couldn't be further apart, but they are still so similar.

So, what can Gollini bring to Villa? Well, not much more than could be offered by Bunn or Steer, but Gollini has the foundations to build upon.

He could be a better organiser, he could definitely be a better shot-stopper, but what we won't see is a lack of confidence. Goalkeeping is all in the mind, and unfortunately Gollini's predecessor was worn down by consistent mistakes.

All in all, Villa brought Gollini for the same reason that they invested in Adama Traore: his ability is clear and even though he might not be performing at his full potential right now, the impressive scope of his talent is there for all to see. The Championship will be an excellent proving ground for the young Italian.