Watford love changing managers and Javi Gracia is the latest one at the helm. With the frequent change of managers, there is a frequent change of personnel too and one such change is set to occur in the goalkeeping position.
Heurelho Gomes was left out of the squad against Arsenal and although he did come back for the remaining games, it is clear that Gomes is not going to be the first choice keeper at Vicarage Road next year. The reason for his absence was stated as ‘personal’ ones.
It looks like Gomes’ Watford career after 195 appearances and 53 clean sheets might come to an end. The 37-year-old was a fan favourite but was ageing and committing errors. It is clearly time for an upgrade.
On-loan keeper Orestis Karnezis is not the answer. The Greek keeper’s loan spell has been a failure. He can’t command the box, shows no authority and is error-prone. Watford shouldn’t sign him permanently.
That opens up space for a new first-choice goalkeeper, with talented youngster Pontus Dahlberg as a backup option.
Fabianski enjoyed another fantastic individual season at the Liberty Stadium. He made the third most number of saves in Europe’s top 5 leagues with 136.
He played every single game for the Swans this season and was by far their most consistent performer. He also kept 9 clean sheets this season, which is quite an impressive feat with the horror shows that the rest of team put on. He made zero errors leading to a goal.
He is also a complete goalkeeper. He has a long reach, amazing reflexes, commands his box, has good distribution, comes off his line when necessary, punches or claims based on the situation. The Polish keeper has made a huge 10 sweeper clearances.
He is out of the world at saving penalties. He saved four of them this season. His heroics in the 2014 FA Cup semi-final penalty shootout led Arsenal to their first trophy for about 11 years.
He saved Thomas Muller and David Alaba’s penalties in the Champions League too. This shows that he is a keeper who is confident in his abilities and has a way to put fear into the striker’s mind.
He has done well on the international stage too. He became Poland’s No.1 in Euro 2016 after Wojciech Szczęsny’s injury. He played in four games, keeping a clean sheet in two and making a total of 14 saves.
He may well be Poland’s number one in Russia too, as his compatriot and former Arsenal teammate Szczęsny has played just over 20 times this season.
Fabianski is a keeper who is consistent, has the experience at the highest level and still good enough to play at the very top. Aged 33, Fabianski just might have one last hurrah left in him. Watford must make use of it.