Scouting Report: Will Arsenal Sign Argentine Goalkeeping Hero Sergio Romero?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJuly 10, 2014

Should Arsenal take advantage of Sergio Romero's idle club career and sign Argentina's goalkeeping hero in the summer transfer window?

To cover that hypothetical scenario, here is a scouting report on Romero, a 27-year-old, 6'4", 194-pound Argentine international. 


Overnight Star

Romero went from an unheralded goalkeeper to an instant sensation after clutch saves during a 4-2 penalty shoot out win (0-0 after extra time) against the Netherlands in the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-finals. 

Netherlands national team manager Louis van Gaal watched centre-back Ron Vlaar and central attacking midfielder Wesley Sneijder succumb to Romero. 

Van Gaal's dream of winning a World Cup was crushed by his former player Romero, who also reduced Arjen Robben's son, Luka, to tears.  

"We [AZ] were the club to bring him [Romero] to Europe," Van Gaal said, per The Guardian. "I taught Romero how to stop penalties, so that hurts."

Romero validated Van Gaal's anecdote, per Martin Lipton at the Mirror:

I went to Louis to thank him because he helped me when I arrived in Holland.

From the first day in Holland he said to me that the goalkeeper is one of the team, one of 11 players. 

I went to a country where I didn't understand a word of the language, he helped me and I'm thankful for everything he did for me.

Van Gaal probably pondered what the butterfly effect would have been if he did not sign the Argentine at AZ.

Argentine national team manager Alejandro Sabella kept faith in Romero, despite him hitting hard times at club level, per Marcela Mora y Araujo at The Telegraph:

There is one position where manager Alejandro Sabella has been adamant from the start he has made his mind up: the keeper of the net.

And yet, it is the position that is generating the most controversy in Sabella's squad.

Although Romero is the most experienced, among fans and commentators the concern is whether experience can outweigh the lack of rhythm and continuity that come from playing regularly.

Using the World Cup semi-final as an audition for a new club pushed Romero to heights he had never scaled.

Fittingly adorned "Los Manos de Dios (Hands of God)," per Rio Negro (h/t The Guardian), Romero's heroics were reminiscent of compatriots Carlos Roa and Sergio Goycochea. 

An iconic 1998 World Cup moment was Roa dashing across the field in celebration juxtaposed with a solemn David Batty beginning his lonely walk back to his English teammates.

Roa was following in the footsteps of Goycochea, who incredibly made four saves in two penalty shoot out victories over Yugoslavia and Italy during the 1990 World Cup. 


Red Flags

Sabella's choice to stick by Romero was devoid of logic. 

Angelo da Costa and Vincenzo Fiorillo were considered better goalkeepers than Romero at Sampdoria, who was exiled out on loan to Monaco.

Under then-Monaco manager Claudio Ranieri, Romero only started two Ligue 1 games. 

Aside from a routine save against Bordeaux, Romero spent the season watching Danijel Subasic play.

Yes, the same Danijel Subasic, who could not oust Stipe Pletikosa from Croatia's No. 1 position. 

The notion of Romero suddenly becoming a legitimate elite goalkeeper is a stretch.

He could suffer a rise and fall like Roa and Goycochea.

Roa rebuffed Manchester United's advances and voluntarily chose to sit out professional football for an extended period to pursue his religious aspirations. 

"It was a very difficult decision for me to take when I was at the peak of my career," Roa said, per "Even now I get people stopping me in the street and telling me I let them down."

Eight years prior to Roa stout-heartedly saving Batty's penaltyGoycochea was ushered into the limelight in Italia '90 following Nery Pumpido's unfortunate leg break against the Soviet Union.

After playing like the Argentine Lev Yashin, Goycochea came up short when it mattered.

In the 85th minute of the 1990 World Cup final, Goycochea failed to stop Andreas Brehme's penalty, which won West Germany the World Cup. 

Goycochea never emulated his World Cup dominance for a major European club like Arsenal. 


Bottom Line

Arsenal need a goalkeeper to challenge No. 1 Wojciech Szczesny.

Sampdoria want to discard Romero, who did not make a lasting impression on loan at Monaco. 

With Romero in-limbo at club level, it would be logical for Arsenal to make a move for him considering his excellent performance against the Netherlands. 

The concern is he may suffer a World Cup hangover and fade back into obscurity.



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