Last summer, it was all about Real Madrid’s Galacticos and Man City’s quest to spend as much money as humanly possible. This year, it looks set to be the Summer of the Goalkeeper.
Manchester United, Arsenal, and Bayern Munich are definitely in the market. Chelsea are said to be sniffing around and Barcelona have been thinking about upgrading on Valdes for a while now.
With all these big hitters searching for a new man between the sticks, prices are bound to be driven up as top quality ‘keepers become a collector’s item. But who is available, and who is likely to make the moves to the highest-pressure jobs in football?
Hugo Lloris (23, Lyon)
The current Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year, Lloris is highly sought after in European football.
He is France’s number one and has had considerable exposure in international press following his displays for France against Republic of Ireland in the World Cup.
With superb reflexes and a considerable reach, Lloris is both good enough to slot right into a first team and young enough to stay there.
What to Expect: Bids from all the top teams and our Hugo to have the pick of the lot.
Sebastien Frey (29, Fiorentina)
Frey has done his credentials no harm at all in this year’s Champions League. Top performances against Liverpool were combined with similarly strong displays against Bayern, so much so that the German giants have placed him highly in their wishlist.
Whilst he’s no spring chicken, Frey is also by no means over the hill as far as goalkeepers are concerned. At 29, he has at least another seven or eight years at the top.
An added bonus is that he’s retired from international football, having fallen out with Raymond Domenech after being repeatedly overlooked.
What to expect: Man Utd to table a bid, but Bayern Munich to snap him up.
Igor Akinfeev (23, CSKA Moscow)
Akinfeev has long been a favourite amongst European talent scouts. Having made his international debut at 18, he now firmly established as Russia’s No. 1 and has long been mooted around the big names in the Premier League and La Liga.
Akinfeev is CSKA Moscow’s captain and one of their best players. He has a reputation for rushing out and saving at strikers’ feet as well as a great ability to save penalties.
His agility, experience and age will mean he is likely to command one of the highest prices of any goalkeeper this summer.
What to expect: Man United to come calling with an offer he can’t refuse.
Guillermo Ochoa (24, Club America)
Guillermo Ochoa is something of an unknown quantity in European football, having remained in Mexico for his player career to date. But that doesn’t mean he is without considerable ability.
Ochoa is regarded as one of Mexico’s brightest talents of this generation. Since being spotted at 18 and handed his first team debut for Club America, the nation has awaited the time he will rise to greatness.
He is an idol in Mexico, with his talent, charisma and ad-friendly appearance making him an easy sell for the country’s media. Now, having secured the number one shirt for the national team, it seems his time has come.
The entirety of South America are expecting him to be sold to a big club after the World Cup and it would be hard to bet against it happening.
What to expect: A considerable bid from Arsenal and a move to a large European club.
Scott Loach (21, Watford)
Loach is one of the new crop of young English goalkeepers and is the current Under-21’s first choice.
He was also the subject of a £2m bid from Spurs in the January transfer down, an offer that was turned down by Watford.
Speculation is damp on Loach, though, as he has just signed a contract extension with Watford that will keep him at the club until 2013.
What to expect: Perhaps a cheeky bid from a mid-to-large club, where he would be benched until he was up to speed.
This article was written by Jon Naylor for Half Volley , the half sport, half science web site.