If Luis Enrique felt that Unai Simon was the solution to Spain’s goalkeeping problems, the Athletic Bilbao stopper certainly provided more questions than answers on Wednesday evening.
Simon is suffering from something of a second-season syndrome right now, falling well short of the sky-high standards he set during his superb breakthrough campaign at the San Mames in 2019/20.
The Basque-born 23-year-old has committed his fair share of high-profile mistakes in recent months.
With the European Championships due to kick off in a month, Enrique may have no choice but to revisit the drawing board as Simon allowed a Sandro Ramirez daisy-cutter to slip through his grasp and into the net last night, gifting relegation-threatened Huesca a massive three points in the process.
In fact, no goalkeeper in any of Europe’s top five leagues have made more mistakes that have led directly to a goal this season (six).
That includes Kepa Arrizabalaga, Simon’s much-maligned Athletic predecessor, as well as the man he has been tipped to replace at Arsenal.
La Razon reported in April that Mikel Arteta was a big fan of his fellow Spaniard, having instructed his Arsenal bosses to bring Simon to the Emirates amid doubts over Bernd Leno’s long-term future in North London.
While Leno was producing one of his finest performances in recent memory at Stamford Bridge, securing a hard-fought, one-goal triumph with a last-gasp stop to deny Kurt Zouma, Simon’s already ailing reputation was taking another heavy beating in El Alcoraz.
The next Iker Casillas? Simon is at risk of turning into the second coming of Kepa.
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