Goalkeeper Diego Lopez Immediately Improves a Position of Need at AC Milan

Anthony LopopoloFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2014

Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego López deflects a shot during training for the their 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup soccer match against Manchester United at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

This is a free transfer of which AC Milan could be proud.

Diego Lopez is set to arrive as a gift on coach Pippo Inzaghi's birthday, the first real signing of consequence this summer.

It was a good week on the market. Milan had just sent away Kevin Constant and Robinho, two players who became the butt of jokes, and seem on the cusp of buying an accomplished 32-year-old goalkeeper who is, according to Real Madrid's goalkeeping coach Villiam Vecchi, "one of the best keepers I've coached in my career," per Gazzetta dello Sport (via Rossoneri Blog's Meytar Zeevi).

"Milan did a big purchase," Vecchi said. "Lopez is a goalkeeper who can do everything. Technically he is complete."

Lopez could sign a three-year contract worth €2.5 million, per Football Italia.

The length of the contract is fine. Lopez is enjoying the prime of his career and would immediately come into Serie A as one of the best shot-stoppers besides Samir Handanovic and Gianluigi Buffon.

The Spaniard is not necessarily a stopgap solution, either. He comes with experience—if he could play in a political environment as tough as Real Madrid's, he can play anywhere—and he could educate any future goalkeepers on the way.

Sport Mediaset (h/t Football Italia) claimed 21-year-old Mattia Perin was the man to replace incumbent Christian Abbiati at Milan, and even if Perin does not arrive now, it is likely he will in the future. Milan and Genoa share a good relationship, and Perin is the kind of pupil whom Lopez could mentor.

For years, even those good ones, Milan lacked someone in net with complete confidence in his abilities. When they won the Champions League, it was Dida in net. Dida could make a spectacular save but could also allow a weak shot to trickle in. Same with Abbiati.

With Lopez, Milan will get rock-solid hands. As Bleacher Report's Matteo Bonetti writes: "Lopez has a large frame and is adept at coming out on set pieces. He has a penchant for making spectacular saves and is generally a reliable option who doesn't make many mistakes."

Goalkeeping has never been a position of excellence at Milan, and yet now a strong keeper is close to arriving, of all times, with the rest of the team in transition and the club at its lowest point in years.