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Opinion: The 2018-19 football season is the year of the goalkeepers

Jack D
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
877   //    11 Aug 2018, 23:37 IST

Huddersfield Town v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Kepa - Chelsea's new goalie

Every year during the transfer windows, there are certain deals which change the complexion of the market. The Neymar transfer deal between PSG and Barcelona helped inflate the value of players to new heights. £100 million deals have been a regular occurrence in the transfer market since then.

Although the money seems to be spent on players further up the pitch, clubs are now happy to splash the cash on positions further down if it means they get the players they really want.

Manchester City did that last summer by buying full-backs Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy for a combined sum of more than £100 million. In the winter transfer market, Liverpool finally secured the much awaited signing of Virgil Van Dijk for £75 million.

This year the attention has shifted to a position once probably overlooked in the transfer market - goalkeepers. Gianluigi Buffon moved from Parma to Juventus in 2001 for £32.6 million - the rest is history, as they say.

Real Madrid CF v Juventus  - UEFA Champions League Semi Final
Gianluigi Buffon - Juventus legend

Well until last summer at least, when Manchester City signed Ederson from Benfica for £35 million. The record has finally been broken, but teams seem to have gone up a notch with regards spending on goalies this year.

Liverpool broke the record by buying Alisson Becker from Roma for a reported £67 million. Not to be outdone by their rivals, Chelsea signed Kepa Arrizabalaga from Bilbao for £72 million.

Liverpool's need for a world-class goalkeeper was evident ever since the departure of Pepe Reina. Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius were good goalkeepers, but they always slipped up on the final hurdle.

As a consequence, they were probably ready to pay what was needed to bring in a reliable world class goalkeeper. Jan Oblak was another name on their list, but his reported €100 million release clause was a bit too much for them.

Liverpool v S.S.C Napoli - Pre Season Friendly
Alisson Becker - Liverpool's rock at the back

Chelsea on the other hand already had a golden glove winner from the recent World Cup on their roster. But Thibaut Courtois wanted a move to Madrid for him to be closer to his family, so Chelsea was forced to act in the market, and had to pay the release clause of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Although there were other high profile transfers (notably the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus from Real Madrid), the window belonged to the goalkeepers.

With managers putting emphasis on team play and build-up from the back, they want better players in every position, and are willing to pay any amount needed to bring such players in.

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Jack D
CONTRIBUTOR
Passionate about all kinds of sports and a keen football fan.
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