Diego Lopez and Pablo Armero are on the verge of becoming AC Milan players after the pair headed to Italy for their medicals.
Milan's summer of strengthening continues with the two likely signings who can make a real difference to the Rossoneri's defensive frailties. Milan's official Twitter account posted an image of the duo as the medical process began:
Sky Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio expects Lopez to sign on a three-year deal. He was deemed surplus to requirements at Real Madrid after the arrival of Keylor Navas from Levante, despite his largely excellent run in the side.
The Costa Rican's impressive World Cup acted as the guillotine to Lopez's career at the Bernabeu, where he will always be remembered for ousting Iker Casillas from the first team.
Despite still being under contract, it is reported Lopez will move for free, per Di Marzio.
Which player will prove to be the shrewder signing for Milan?
Filippo Inzaghi is receiving a top-class goalkeeper and will be ecstatic to snatch him without paying a fee. Lopez showed on numerous occasions what a fantastic shot-stopper he is at Real Madrid, while his ability to stand tall and deal with pressure remains extremely useful.
He certainly offers a more dynamic, alert alternative to Christian Abbiati, who will find it difficult to receive playing time now Michael Agazzi is also at Milan. Club CEO Adriano Galliani believes Lopez is "the strongest goalkeeper in Europe," reported by Gazzetta dello Sport and via Goal.com's Mark Doyle.
Lopez knows he will need to work hard to impress, per Di Marzio:
"I’m here to work and fight for the starting spot," said the Spaniard. "I hope to play as many games as possible, thanks to the daily work. This is a big step for my career, I arrive in the best club in Italy."
Armero's arrival will offer Milan a counter-attacking threat from left-back. The energetic Colombian will burst along the flank for 90 minutes when fit, something he didn't produce during his recent loan spell with West Ham. The player's tour of Serie A continues—this is his third Italian club since 2010—meaning he'll be hoping for a bit of stability heading into the new campaign.
Matteo Bonetti of beIN Sports sheds further light on Armero's current standing:
Pablo Armero will be the direct replacement for Kevin Constant at Milan— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) August 5, 2014
Armero at Napoli wasn't the Armero of Udinese/Colombia. World class speed, but wildly inconsistent and can't defend.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) August 5, 2014
The Colombian impressed during Los Cafeteros' displays during the World Cup, that's for sure. Armero needs to take greater responsibility when bombing up the pitch and must ensure he doesn't leave the rest of his teammates exposed, but if Inzaghi can discipline the 27-year-old's game, he will prove to be an astute capture.
Pippo may even be tempted to start Armero further up the field, depending on his tactics.
Both Lopez and Armero can help Milan return to the upper echelons of Italian football after last year's disappointing seventh-place finish. It's the goalkeeper who is likely to be a more permanent fixture in the San Siro side's setup, especially as he has proven unlucky to move on from Real Madrid.
Presuming both medicals progress without a hitch, Milan are set to welcome two stars with a point to prove. It will be interesting to witness how Inzaghi harnesses the qualities (and deficiencies) of Armero's game, as Jose Pekerman reminded everyone the attacking full-back can be extremely effective at the World Cup.
The new Milan boss will be hoping to make an instant impact alongside the arrival of these stars, or else face instant questioning as to whether he was the right man to replace Clarence Seedorf.