Although it is only a tad less surprising than Arsenal bottling the league, Tottenham has reportedly secured the services of Italian goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario from Empoli on a five-year deal for an estimated €19M.
To be quite frank, I was absolutely certain that Raya would end up at Spurs as our Lloris replacement, but as per Fabrizio Romano – the club felt that Brentford’s £40M asking price was above Raya’s market value with just a year remaining on his current contract.
As you may already know, the lanky shot-stopper has yet to win a cap for his native Italy.
Nevertheless, he has been a regular in Mancini’s squad over the past year – with the likes of Juventus and Inter Milan expressing their interest in his possible recruitment; further reverberating the promise of Vicario fulfilling an illustrious career.
He had incidentally gone viral on social media a few months ago after making an incredible triple save against Roma, a feat when seen in real time can only be described as absolutely [redacted] biblical.
Unlike most Premier League signings this summer, Vicario had to earn his stripes before making it to the highest level.
Who is Guglielmo Vicario?
He began his career in the fourth division of Italian football with Udinese, before agreeing to sign for Venezia, where he spent an honorable four years.
Vicario finally got his big break when he was snapped up by Serie A side Cagliari, who then loaned him out to Serie B with Perugia.
Despite his most valiant efforts and spurts of impressive performances, Cagliari felt that he wasn’t quite ready for their first team and thought it best to allow Empoli to take him on loan the following year, which is where he was truly able to make his mark over the last couple of seasons.
A momentary discussion with our calculators would therefore suggest that Vicario has roughly only two years of top-flight experience under his belt, despite being 26 years old.
Semantics; in hindsight, as this stat is largely negated by the fact that he is a goalkeeper with plenty of fuel left in the tank, which further adds to his already deranged hunger and drive to succeed in the best league in the world.
He is a commanding, brave and decisive presence in the area, which is something Spurs have been lacking in recent times. The sixth-foot-four Italian displays excellent footwork for his stature, and is consistent when making strong reflex saves; all while expertly closing down angles on attackers bearing down on goal.
Of all the keepers in Serie A last season, Vicario had the third most impressive stats when it came to saving expected goals – concisely, this means he had saved more attempts at goal than was predicted. He was in the top five for attempted passes out from the back and placed second when it came to stopping crosses.
Consequently, he does have a tendency of parrying shots rather than catching them, which is something he’ll certainly have to work on moving forward if he is to be a success in the Prem.
In all honesty, I was hoping we would have gone for a player that’s slightly more established given the importance of the position and the urgent need to keep pace with the league’s elites.
‘He can continue to get better’
The view in Italy is that Vicario was second only to Inter’s Andre Onana in Serie A with his performances last season. And (he) has become the second-best Italian stopper behind PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Apparently, ‘Vicario has been working a lot on his ability with his feet in recent years, leading to a marked improvement.
‘And the feeling with the Italian is that while his entire game has improved rapidly he has a high ceiling which means he can continue to get better.’
Quite a few Spurs fans are understandably sceptical about moving for a little-known Serie A goalkeeper after Pierluigi Gollini’s struggles at N17 in 2021-22.
In addition, the fact Tottenham have pulled the plug on the premium option to go for a cheaper option hasn’t gone down well either.
However, what we’ve heard about Vicario so far seems to suggest he’s a quality goalkeeper. He could have a lot to offer Tottenham.
Last year, Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon proclaimed Vicario was doing “extraordinary” things at Empoli and is looking forward to his incremental growth in the coming years.