With Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovic gracing their ranks, it would appear the last area Chelsea need to bolster this summer is their goalkeeping arsenal. However, with rumours circulating of at least one of their shot stoppers departing, it could prove their most important avenue of investment.
Courtois in particular has been notably outspoken about his future and, as ESPN reports, is failing to confirm any commitment to Chelsea next season. Moreover, with rumours circulating of a potential approach from Real Madrid, the Belgian could be leaving Stamford Bridge this summer.
Begovic too could be on the way out. His lack of game time this season has prompted publications, such as the Metro, to suggest the Bosnian is keen on a departure also.
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It all stacks up negatively for Chelsea and sees them likely to be exploring the transfer marker for a goalkeeper in the coming months. Inter Milan shot stopper Samir Handanovic has proven one of the more frequented names and the 31-year-old appears an appetising buy.
While the club certainly won’t want to part ways with Courtois, the arrival of Handanovic would go far in softening the blow. As a result, here are three reasons why the Slovenian could be the perfect man to cover any goalkeeping departures at Chelsea this summer:
While no top goalkeeper is truly poor when it comes to shot stopping, it proves an area in particular where Handanovic excels. His nickname ‘Batmanovic’ can be owed to this trait and knack of producing acrobatic stops.
Courtois’ shot stopping is far from weak, but his expertise predominantly lay with his cross catching and distribution. So, certainly in one respect, it could be argued that the capture of Handanovic would be an upgrade.
With razor sharp reflexes and an impressive reach, beating the 31-year-old is no mean feat. In a league also boasting the legendary Gianluigi Buffon, Handanovic’s collection of Serie A’s ‘Goalkeeper of the Year’ award in both 2011 and 2013 should not go unnoticed.
Wealth of experience
If Chelsea are to return to their best next season, they need transfers that prove quick fixes. While younger goalkeepers may prove long-term investments, they usually take months if not seasons to adapt to the rough and tumble style of the Premier League.
The Blues can’t afford to be waiting around for a shot stopper to adapt in a similar way to Manchester United and David de Gea.
Handanovic however possesses a wealth of experience that will likely see him an instant hit in English football. With 435 domestic career appearances and 81 caps for Slovenia, the 31-year-old has numerous seasons under his belt as well as experience at a World Cup.
Not since 2005 has he gone a season playing less than 30 games- a considerable feat considering he played for five different sides over this period. It certainly bodes well as regards the Slovenian hitting the ground running and helping shore up Chelsea’s leaky defence.
With such know-how and experience, Handanovic will be better suited than most as regards making the transition away from Serie A.
Spot kicks are a minor part of the game, but can in certain scenarios be the difference between a win or draw. Consequently, possessing a goalkeeper with an eye for stopping penalties could see a team’s final points tally augmented and every integer counts.
When it comes to deflecting away efforts from 12 yards, Handanovic is arguably the best in the business. In fact, the Inter Milan shot stopper has saved 34 in his career and 2011-12 saw him beat away six in one season.
Considering Courtois has saved just one penalty this year, this proves another area where the Belgian comes up short. It may be a minute detail, but if Chelsea buy the Slovenian then the opposition will be given no guarantees from the penalty spot.
If Courtois decides to remain at Stamford Bridge this summer then there would appear little incentive for the Blues to pounce for a goalkeeper. However, if the dreaded does occur, the Blues should look no further than Inter Milan’s acrobatic, penalty saving number one.
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