London (AFP) – Argentinian goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga will play second tier Spanish football this season after being sent on loan to Rayo Vallecano by his Premier League club Southampton on Friday.
The 24-year-old — who has played just 21 times in the Premier League for Saints since the move he described as a ‘dream’ saw him join from Gillingham in 2012 — already has experience of Spanish football having spent four years at the Valencia academy.
Les Reed, Southampton’s executive director of football, said it was felt it best for Gazzaniga to build up regular first team experience elsewhere as Saints have England international Fraser Forster as their first choice.
“He (Gazzaniga) is now at the point where regular competitive football is required for him to progress to the highest level. Playing regularly for Rayo Vallecano will provide invaluable experience for him,” Reed told the club website.
“Rayo Vallecano is a progressive club, who are making a serious challenge to return to La Liga this coming season. Playing in Spain will also be valuable to Paulo in years to come when we hope he will be involved in regular European football.
“While Paulo has experienced junior football in his native Argentina and top-flight football in England, another culture and style will help him develop to his true potential.”
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