For just £3 million, Arsene Wenger could have just picked up the bargain of the season in Colombian David Ospina.
Arsenal have completed the deal to bring Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina to London for around £3 million. It is a deal that will go mostly under the radar due to the amount paid compared to the vast sums paid for Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy, but it could be one of Arsene Wenger’s smartest moves this summer.
Ospina moves to England after blossoming in France for OGC Nice and a superb showing for his country at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Clean sheets against Greece and Uruguay saw the South American side make it through to the quarter-finals before being beaten 2-1 by Brazil. It is their most successful World Cup to date and Ospina is one of the main reasons behind the success.
Ospina joined Nice when Hugo Lloris joined Lyon back in 2008. If he is an unknown quantity now, he was virtually invisible back then. He arrived in the country unable to speak a word of French, and now he leaves for England as an undoubted fan-favourite at the Allianz Riviera.
Like Lloris, Ospina is not the biggest, but he plays without fear and charges around his area with full control and composure. Never intimidated to fly into a challenge, he often comes out on top.
He is quiet and reserved in his manner, but prefers to do his talking with his ability. His shot-stopping is magnificent at times. L’Equipe called a clean sheet against Marseille last season as his “match parfait” and it was hard to disagree. Whatever they threw at him, Ospina had the answer. Whether it was a tremendous reaction save, bravery or his positioning, he had all the answers and Marseille ran out of questions.
As he grew up on the pitch, he became a leader at Nice. With Lloris gone and then the likes of Renato Civelli making way for a young, exciting team, Ospina grew into the leadership role.
Arsenal have signed a very capable No. 1 ‘keeper. Wojciech Szczesny should be worried about his first-choice status. Ospina has left a huge gap in the Nice defence, but he is coming to London to establish himself as one of the best goalies in Europe – just like Lloris at Tottenham.
Now, Ospina will hope to get one over on the man he replaced on the Cote d’Azur when it comes to the North-London derby this season.