Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been linked with a £25m move to West Ham this summer, but is he really the answer to West Ham’s supposed goalkeeping problems?
Our current goalkeeping set up is on par with the Premier League standards. Adrian stands out because he is charismatic and passionate on the field and delivers good saves.
Randolph does a job when needed; he can pull out a class save from nowhere but does make far too many errors and doesn’t communicate as much with his defensive backline.
That said, West Ham have two average keepers and do need an upgrade this season. If I had to choose between Adrian and Randolph, I’d sell Randolph. He is Premier League quality.
The nearest keeper that he’s similar to is Tony Warner, but without the personality.
So Jordan Pickford, where has all this hype come from?
I’m sure he is a good keeper with plenty of potential, but does he really offer anything to a West Ham squad hoping to break the top six?
He isn’t expected to keep clean sheets every game at Sunderland and he is only as good as the defence in front of him, which is why Sunderland were relegated.
He has been a standout player in a poor season for the Black Cats, but his competition at the club was Vito Mannone who is clearly an accident waiting to happen.
Pickford is easily the better keeper out of the two and, let’s face it, he has only been called up because the club have been in financial difficulty and could not spend any more to get a recognised goalkeeper.
Sunderland gambled on Pickford, and luckily they’ve managed to get some performances out of him on the cheap. If Sunderland did have the cash, I’m pretty sure Pickford would have been loaned out to a Championship or League One side by now.
But it has to be said that Pickford is the only keeper to have played in all top five leagues in England before the age of U21, so he does have experience at all levels of the game.
If he was available for £12m-15m then I would consider buying him, but a £25m-30m valuation by Sunderland is outrageous. I do hope West Ham see sense in the deal and pursue other targets.
Here are a few alternative options West Ham should consider first…
Option A – Five-year plan
Go out and buy a senior player (28-32-years-old) who has a vast amount of Premier League experience. A few keepers are completely out of reach in terms of World Class status, so who fits the bill?
Top of the list is Joe Hart. The out of favour England No.1 was sent out on loan to Torino to make way for Claudio Bravo and now Man City are signing Ederson.
So Hart is available and would probably come to us as West Ham’s project is similar to Man City’s not so long ago. He would be guaranteed a starting place.
Kasper Schmeichel led Leicester City to a title winning campaign and was a standout performer in the Champions League. The Denmark No.1 has a lot of suitors but he would certainly fit in nicely at West Ham. I remember his senior debut for a Sven Goran Erkisson Man City v West Ham.
Southampton’s Fraser Forster could also be an option. His time at Celtic was mainly beneficial as he played regular Champions League football and now he has proved himself in the Premier League and England in recent years.
Option B – Short term fix
Buy a senior keeper who has been around for years, but would realistically only be in the squad for no more than a couple of seasons.
Ben Foster has been a regular in the league, playing for Watford, Manchester United, Birmingham City and now West Brom. At 34, he probably has a couple of years left in him at the top level.
Experience and guidance behind the defence would help young defenders like Reece Oxford and Reece Burke become better players.
Gianluigi Buffon. Juventus are already looking for Buffon’s replacement as his time at the Old Lady seems to be coming to an end. Buffon has stated previously that he is a West Ham and Celtic fan because he loves the supporters.
It would be a major coup to get Buffon in a Hammers shirt, even if for just a single season. A Big name between the sticks would most certainly boost shirt sales to earn bring in enough money to buy a younger, world class goalkeeper in a few seasons time.
Pepe Reina currently plays for Napoli in Serie A, but has been linked with a return to the Premier League with Newcastle United. Reina was instrumental to Liverpool’s domestic cup successes and strong league campaigns, consistently qualifying for the Champions League.
At 34 he could be a good fit for the club, competing for a place with Adrian.
Option C – The long term plan
Keep Adrian as No.1 for a few seasons and invest in young talent who is not overvalued.
Freddie Woodman is the current England U20 first choice keeper and is currently owned by Newcastle United. The young keeper has been shipped out on loan to Kilmarnock this season and has put in some solid performances.
He is currently on international duty in the U20 World Cup, which is held in South Korea. Unfortunately, he was highlighted in England’s comical own goal gaff vs Gambia, but that has been the only goal he has conceded in the group stages of the tournament. He has also received call ups to the U21 national squad in Pickford’s absence.
Daniel Bentley plays for Brentford and is currently their first choice keeper. He spent the majority of his youth career at Arsenal and moved to Southend youth in 2008, before signing for the Bees last year. A self-confessed Hammers fan, he has stated that it is his dream to play for West Ham United.
Angus Gunn is currently in the Manchester City Premier League 2 team setup but is regularly called up to the England U21 squad. He is the son of famous Norwich City player and manager Bryan Gunn, so he has a natural ability between the sticks. Angus has yet to make an appearance at any senior level, so if West Ham did buy him, he could be immediately loaned out. However, the boy is talented and will be a star one day.
Now if the club said, “Adam, you have £20m to buy a Premier League keeper, go out and get him and build the team around him,” I would be knocking on Stoke City’s door for Jack Butland.
Hailed as the future England No.1 by Joe Hart when Butland was only 18, this player is the real deal.
When you compare his rise to Jordan Pickford’s you can easily argue that Pickford is overvalued. Butland has had to recover from a long term injury whilst on England duty, but he has come back stronger than ever, becoming Stoke City’s No.1.