Three Heurelho Gomes replacements Watford must consider in January
In an interview earlier this month with Sky Sports, Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes has revealed this is likely going to be the last season in his career.
The Brazilian shot-stopper was set to leave Watford earlier in the summer but made a U-turn and stayed put at the club.
Heurelho Gomes, 37, has become a key member of the Watford dressing room since joining the club back in 2014. He has made over 150 appearances for the Hornets but currently finds himself as a deputy to summer arrival Ben Foster.
With Gomes now at the tail end of his career and also in the final year of his contract at Vicarage Road, Watford manager Javi Gracia should pursue a replacement in January. That being said, here are three replacements Watford must consider in January.
Thomas Strakosha (Lazio)
With Gomes out of contract at the end of the season and Foster ageing, it may be a good time for Watford to bring in a young goalkeeper of good quality but also with the room to grow.
Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha fits that bill, and the 23-year-old will be available on a pre-contract agreement in January given that his deal expires next summer.
Strakosha joined Lazio in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the best young goalkeepers in Italy. Standing at 6ft 4in, the Albanian is a commanding presence in the box and is good with the feet as well. He has the ability to set up attacks from the back and rarely gets flustered under pressure.
At 23, Strakosha is very young and could be the ideal long-term replacement for Watford’s Gomes.
Nick Pope (Burnley)
Watford need a goalkeeper to avoid a potential burnout of options due to age and contract situations and Burnley’s Nick Pope should be an ideal choice for that purpose.
Nick Pope was called upon by manager Sean Dyche last season as a replacement for the injured Tom Heaton. And the 26-year-old impressed between the sticks with a series of consistent performances that resulted in him getting selected for the England squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Although Pope has been sidelined due to a dislocated shoulder and is yet to feature for Burnley this season, he is a good young goalkeeper with excellent shot-stopping abilities and sharp reflexes.
In signing Pope, Watford would improve their squad and their long-term goalkeeping problems could be solved.
Fraser Forster (Southampton)
Having been ousted as Southampton’s number one midway through last season, Fraser Forster may well be on the lookout for a move in January to revive his career. Alex McCarthy’s sudden rise and the summer signing of Angus Gunn has seen Forster fall even further down the pecking order at St Mary’s.
When it comes to agility, reflex saves and one-on-one situations, Forster is a solid customer. However, the England international is a bit sluggish in his movement and isn’t exactly reliable with the ball at his feet.
Watford clearly need someone with character and Forster, despite being error-prone, could be a decent choice.