6 Feb 2015

'The Saint' to Anfield? Liverpool pushing to sign 'unreal' €20m-star to replace Mignolet

Over the last six weeks, Liverpool's defensive unit has gone from strength to strength, and with 4 clean sheets in the last 6 games, Simon Mignolet is a big part of the Reds' ongoing improvement. That may not be enough to save him, though, as new reports suggest that Brendan Rodgers is still looking for a new goalkeeper.

According to reports this week:

* Liverpool are considering a summer move for Inter Milan goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

* The Slovenian held transfer talks with Roma in January, but a deal could not be finalised.

Liverpool reportedly tried to sign Handanovic two years ago, and at the time, Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato claimed:

"Liverpool have offered £12m, but Inter believe that Liverpool [should' make an extra effort to get up very close to the equivalent of €20 million, which could persuade Massimo Moratti to sell"

When asked about Handanovic's future this week, his agent, Federico Pastorello told Tuttosport:

"There were three meetings with the Nerazzurri directors [but] For now we are not talking about it, as he has a contract until June 2016"

If Inter don't extend Handanovic's contract soon, they'll face the possibility of losing him on a free, which will undoubtedly alert a lot of top clubs around Europe.

The question is, with Mignolet rediscovering his form, do Liverpool still need a new goalkeeper? In my view, the answer is categorically, and unequivocally, YES.

Mignolet had his chance, and in the grand scheme of things, a brief spell of good form means nothing. If Rodgers is lulled into a false sense of security and fails to act yet again (like last summer), then he'll deserve all the criticism that will inevitably come his way when Mignolet reverts to type.

The same applies to Lucas; he's playing well at the moment, but the club cannot rest on its laurels. These players need to be replaced, or - at the very least - challenged in the squad, and if Liverpool are to consistently challenge for the title, then continuous improvement is the name of the game.

This used to be a common feature amongst the classic Liverpool teams of the 70s and 80s; Paisley et al never took anything for granted, and each year, the club would bring in great new players to challenge the stars who'd been integral to winning titles, even though it looked like they weren't needed.

Is Handanovic - nicknamed 'The Saint' in Italy - an improvement on Mignolet? Primary stats for Inter:

* 132 goals conceded in 109 games (1.2 per game)
* 39 clean sheets (35% of games. One every 2.7 games)
* This season: 66 saves in 27 apps (2.4 per game)

Mignolet's LFC stats:

* 90 goals conceded in 73 games (1.2 per game)
* 19 clean sheets (26% of games. One every 3.8 games)
* This season
: 87 saves in 32 apps (2.7 per game)

Clean sheets aside, there's little between Mignolet and Handanovic right now, and the deciding factor may be the unquantifiable aspects of a goalkeeper's quality, such as leadership, communication, command of the box, and distribution.

Former Inter goalkeeper Francesco Toldo is a big fan of Handanovic, and in January, he raved:

“Handanovic is unreal. He’s carrying the team with his great saves. He should be given more acclaim. He really excels and it’s difficult for him, because the defence suffers at times, but he’s always ready.

A viable replacement for Mignolet?

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18 comments:

  1. He is from Slovenia, not Serbia.
    Great goalkeeper, by the way...

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  2. Have to admit I know b#gger all about him, but Handanovic is a damn fine name for a keeper. Let's get him.

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  3. Emre's would eat his no prob

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  4. You are right, too ordinary for us...

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  5. Sadly, neither thick nor lustrous, and it lacks bounce. Not like Can - he's a dreamboat.

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  6. I bet he can't lick his own b*lls though

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  7. Handsondabitch? Sounds good to me.

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  8. I bet many would pay good money to see him try...

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  9. Now we're linked again with Keylor Navas. Apparently he's upset with game time issues and links between De Gea and Madrid. Wouldn't mind him either, though probs not true...

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  10. With a name like Handjobovic anything's possible

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  11. All wild goose chase. LFC is putting there eggs in too many basket. Italians play a different defensive game - this guy at 30 might not fit in EPL & BR 'll go back to his usual escape route - Jones, after wasting another 20mn.

    Please pay enough fee & wage for Petr Cech & bring a world class, tested EPL GK. At 33 next July, he 'll still be great for another 3-5 seasons. Like other great GKs of EPL (Smichel, Van der Sar, Seaman...), I believe this guy 'll also last very well into late 30s. Get a couple of U23 potential as his understudy, so that in 3-4 years time one of them can relegate him to bench. By the way, I was watching Monaco playing Bastia in French Cup, Bastia's French U20 WC winning teams GK Alphonse Areola - 21, 6'4" absolutely outstanding technique, ball handling & distribution, sweeping & command over his back line. This boy reminded me of Courtious 2 years back; I think worth investing, an almost certain French No. 1.

    GK is the safest position to invest big, as the benefit can last for a decade but we had been playing cat & mouse for GK, now in 7th or 8th window & counting. Please BR, instead of bench strength, pay good money & get someone for long term. I am still upset that, without CL, Spurs could keep Lloris; when we should have returned Levy some complements.

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  12. Handanovic clearly isn't an upgrade on Mignolet if we go solely off stats. I'm not a proponent of this stats business though, as as thee are a lot of factors outside a keeper's control which makes the stats good or bad. I've seen both keepers and I would prefer keeping (no pun intended) Migs.

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  13. If we qualify for CL and Spurs don't....Hugo Lloris is the man.

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  14. We won't pay the money that Levy would demand and Lloris isn't the type to make trouble.

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  15. ah alas if you still "believe" .... to be in the CL this season thanks to Suarez was a dream
    who knows how many more seasons now before we can really challenge in the CL

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  16. i thought the Aussie keeper was joining Liverpool with the Boltan Wanders reserve as his back up !

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  17. You are 12 months late met, last year was perfect - we were in CL, Spurs were not, we had the Suarez money, Spurs had just bolted Bale money.


    Next window 'll be exactly opposite - Spurs 'll have money & CL, we 'll have none. You know, why I say BR is a great trainer, not Manager........

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