Vicente Guaita’s move to Crystal Palace from Getafe has got plenty of Eagles fans hoping that the club have finally found a man worthy of being given the number one shirt, with the early signs from our pre-season tour of Scandinavia suggesting that the Spaniard is already feeling right at home.
Whilst there has been no official confirmation yet, the smart money suggests that Guaita will take over from Wayne Hennessey between the sticks for the 2018/19 Premier League season, with eyes now being drawn towards our first pre-season friendly against Danish side Helsingør later on today. Given the relative weakness of the opponent, we may well see Hennessey given a run-out instead of Guaita but there is a good chance that Roy is keen to see his latest signing in action as quickly as possible.
Having spent an eyebrow-raising 14 years on Valencia’s books before making the permanent switch to Getafe in 2014, Vicente certainly has pedigree coming into the set-up in SE25. Whilst David De Gea was the undisputed starter for Spain during their World Cup campaign out in Russia, certain pundits had suggested that Guaita was unlucky not to earn a place on the plane, hinting that he will a step up from what Roy had to choose from last term.
Still just 31, the 6’3 stopper should be at the peak of his powers from August onwards, hopefully offering the side a stable base from which to improve upon the foundations laid down by Hodgson and his coaching staff over the course of last season. It may sound simplistic to some but a keeper who the back four can trust makes a massive difference to a team’s whole approach, both in attack and defence.
Whilst neither Hennessey nor Speroni were terrible options to have last season, the potential offered by Guaita’s arrival hints at something slightly different. Known to be incredibly agile with razor-sharp reflexes, he may end up proving to be difference between us scraping survival and finishing comfortably in mid-table, if he does manage to hit the ground running as we hope he will.
We have of course been here once before with a certain Steve Mandanda; that said, Vicente appears to have bought into the club far more wholeheartedly than the Frenchman ever did. Let’s hope he’s here to stay.