AC Milan’s first signing of the January transfer window was announced earlier today as they closed a deal for goalkeeper Devis Vasquez.
It would be fair to say that the name came from left field as he had not been linked in the weeks prior to the winter window opening whereas a whole range of other goalkeepers had, given the Rossoneri’s struggles in that department.
Moreover, Vasquez is a bit of an unknown quantity given that he played for Club Guarani in Paraguay meaning he has not yet been exposed to European football. So what do we know about the 24-year-old?
A goalkeeper is always judged for his shot stopping ability. Standing at 1.93 metres tall, Vasquez has good reach and lightning reflexes. Various amount of compilations have shown some stunning saves he made when on duty for his club.
Club Guarani are not exactly a team that plays out from the back like most ball-playing European sides, but given some of the circumstances Devis has shown a good first touch, an ability to switch play and act as a third centre-back and not to panic under pressure.
Indecision and lack of command
One very important attribute of top goalkeepers is their leadership while defending. They want to show that they are in command of the situation and they need to make loud audible calls to defenders when defending set pieces so that a mis-understanding does not occur and 2 players do not go for the same ball.
You can see this with Mike Maignan or keepers like Neuer and Buffon. They are largely in sync with their defenders and come out to deal with loose balls and defenders do not interfere.
In the case of Vasquez he lacks that particular art of commandeering his box and has issues deciding when to come out and when to stay back. In one match, he conceded a goal because he initially decided to come out but he stopped midway.
Of course mistakes like these for goalkeepers can happen even to the best in the position.
Goalkeepers are a very different position to make a judgement on unlike defenders and strikers. As keepers have taught us, their growth arc is different and the good ones mostly age like fine wine.
At 24 years of age, Vasquez is still only starting his career and at Milan he has a good chance to go to a different level. He is not on the level of Maignan, who is of course one of the best in the world when fit, but could definitely compete for the deputy role.