The list of keepers that have come like Wojciech Szczęsny, Lucasz Fabianski, Vito Mannone and Manuel Almunia did not inspire a great deal of confidence in Gunners fans. As a matter of fact, Alex Manninger, Stuart Taylor and Vince Bartram didn’t inspire the confidence at Highbury in the post-David Seaman era either before Lehmann asserted himself when he returned in 2011.
Some of these goalkeepers have shown flashes of quality, but their erratic play at times has seen that position on the squad become a revolving door of sorts. That is until Szczęsny saw Fabianski leave for Swansea City and Italian goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano did not see action at all during his short time as a Gunner.
Ospina comes in with a completely different pedigree. When Szczesny was just starting as a youth player, Ospina was already gaining experience as a backup and eventually a starter with Atlético Nacional in Colombia. He was talked about by many as a goalkeeper with potential and he showed it at times as a 16-17 year-old etching his place on a professional club. Yet it was his mental strength and maturity that made European sides take notice of what he could offer.
Former Köln and Philadelphia Union shot stopper Faryd Mondragón talked about the fact that the man in front of him on the national team before his retirement was going to be there for a long time.
Right now, Ospina’s skill set is probably the most well-rounded you will see in European soccer. His qualities are well documented – quickness, ability to cut off angles, and vision. Yet it is the work that he has done in the past few years to improve certain deficiencies in his game that are what make him such an interesting long-term project for Arséne Wenger, who saw him up close in Brazil just a few short weeks ago.
“With David, (Colombia) have a goalkeeper for a log time. He is very disciplined in goal. He’s a modern goalkeeper, can stop shots, cut angles very well and makes big saves in crucial situations. I like his style.”
– Faryd Mondragón
Ospina has also shown promise when it comes to using his feet and being able to organize and distribute the ball t0 his teammates. There might be a bit of an issue with the language, but it’s doubtful as he does speak French and Spanish, so from that perspective his bases are covered.