Brazil have been expected to go all the way during this World Cup, but no one told Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa as he stopped Neymar and Co.
Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa put in one of the great World Cup performances on Tuesday night against Brazil. With the partisan crowd in Fortaleza cheering on the home side, with every save the ‘keeper made, he just seemed to get stronger and stronger. Not many players can say they have conquered the Selecao, but now Ochoa has slayed the dragon and every Premier League team that is looking for a goalkeeper should be searching for his agent’s phone number.
Amazingly come the 1st of July, Ochoa will be without a club as his three-year contract with French side AC Ajaccio comes to an end making the ‘keeper a free agent.
In the past the Mexican goalkeeper has said that he would like to play in the Champions League, but while speaking to the world press in Fortaleza this week, and asked about his future, he has said that his priority right now is to stay in France.
AC Ajaccio were relegated to Ligue 2 after a dismal campaign in the top-flight. Ochoa and his defence conceded 72 goals in 38 games, but there were some magnificent individual performances, some very similar to what Brazil had to face this evening.
In just the second week of last season Ajaccio travelled to Paris to face the champions Paris Saint-Germain, and the strike-force of Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi. Ochoa faced 35 shots during the 90 minutes and made 12 fantastic saves. An 86th minute striker from Cavani saved PSG’s blushes and levelled the scores 1-1.
Ochoa only kept two clean sheets during the season, but this had more to do with the people in front of the ‘keeper rather than his performances between the sticks.
If the Mexican wants to stay in France, his options are limited if he is serious about playing in the Champions League. PSG have Italy’s Salvatore Sirigu, he would have to fight Croatia’s Danijel Subasic for the No. 1 jersey at Monaco and Lille undoubtedly have the best ‘keeper in France with Vincent Enyeama.
Marseille have been heavily linked with the continuing stories that Steve Mandanda is on the way out. Ochoa may not be keen as OM did not qualify for the Europa League this season, but they do have Marcelo Bielsa in charge, and he can be very convincing.
If the option to stay in France doesn’t come off, clubs around Europe will be clamouring to offer the Mexican a contract. Outside of ‘keepers like David de Gea, Petr Cech and Joe Hart, there are few clubs that wouldn’t be improved with a move for Ochoa.
The other Champions League level clubs will be wary of his lack of experience at the highest level, but sides like Southampton, West Ham United or West Brom could do a lot worse than give Ochoa his chance at a Premier League audition.
However, it would be a huge surprise if a team higher up the European football ladder didn’t break the bank open to offer the Mexican a bumper contract.