BLOG ITALIA
Thursday August 14 2014
Milan in safe hands with Lopez

Diego Lopez’s arrival is a smart of business that could bring Milan a couple of steps closer to Champions League qualification, writes Sam Lewis. 

Adriano Galliani could hardly contain his excitement. After confirming to reporters that the arrival of Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez was ‘99 per cent done’, he also let slip a hyperbolic boast. He couldn’t resist. “He’s the strongest goalkeeper in Europe,” the Milan CEO announced.

That statement may not be quite true, as many will agree Germany’s Manuel Neuer and that Gianluigi Buffon guy in Turin may be more worthy of that claim than Diego Lopez, but it’s understandable why Galliani would be so enthused by his latest acquisition.

Simply put, Diego Lopez is Milan’s best goalkeeper for a decade.

Since Dida’s decline from the penalty saving hero at Old Trafford in 2003 to the fumbling man between the goalposts during Carlo Ancelotti’s last years in charge, Milan have struggled for a high quality, reliable shot-stopper. Christian Abbiati has been solid at best and worrying at worst, with a steadily declining athleticism draining what were, at best, modest gifts.

Michael Agazzi was intended to be the goalkeeper of the future but a horrifying pre-season performance against Manchester City all but ended his Rossoneri career in 90 minutes. The former Chievo and Cagliari man may now be an expensive back-up, or a makeweight in the market.

However in Lopez, Galliani has found an excellent, experienced goalkeeper in the form of his life. Although there appeared to be more than just footballing performance dictating Jose Mourinho’s coaching tendencies at Real Madrid, Lopez’s success in essentially replacing perhaps the greatest Spanish goalkeeper of all time in Iker Casillas and keeping him on the bench was no small feat. The fact that Mourinho’s successor Ancelotti opted to stick with Lopez instead of making perhaps the easiest PR move of his career in reinstating Casillas is another impressive note in the former Sevilla player’s resume.  

Lopez arrives as an instant starter at Milan with a four-year-deal that will provide stability in a position that has never been one of strength, helping solidify a defence that was in dire need of assistance at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season. Although the pair have had a shaky pre-season, the experience of centre-backs Alex and Adil Rami alongside Diego Lopez provides a dramatic improvement over Cristian Zapata, Daniele Bonera or Philippe Mexes.

Joining him will be wing-back Pablo Armero, who has arrived on loan from Udinese. The 27-year-old is fresh from a positive World Cup an attacking presence for Colombia. His arrival fills the gap left by Trabsponzor-bound Kevin Constant and Urby Emanuelson, who now plays for Roma. Armero will offer a more consistent offensive threat than Constant but his defensive ability is below average at best – as shown by his inability to break into Sam Allardyce’s hard-nosed West Ham side while on-loan at the London club in the second half of last season.

Milan’s work in the transfer market is yet to be completed and with over two weeks still remaining until the window closes, there is still time for Galliani and company to bring in additional players to prepare the squad to push for Champions League positions. With that in mind, if Milan’s future signings are as shrewd as the Lopez one, a top-three objective may be more realistic than first thought.

Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.

Have your say...
O yes really safe hands!!! Another waste of space that we dont need! Defence is what we need. Sort out the defence sort out the amount of ridiculous goals we concede. Simple.
on the 17th August, 2014 at 9:33pm
I do want to see Milan do well (mostly because they have plenty of Azzurri players in their ranks) but with Galliani and Berlusconi running the show, this remains a poorly contructed comedy.
on the 15th August, 2014 at 9:54am
Whilst Lopez is a decent signing, this should not distract from all the other shoddy transfers that have come and gone via Milanello. Long-term investment is the biggest joke that Galliani alludes to. Monty is injured, so surely Cristante is the perfect understudy opportunity until his return, but no, let’s waste more of the limited budget on Dzemaili and waste this promising Italian talent. The next signing will be Taraabt and maybe Cerci if they can convince Torino to loan him.
on the 15th August, 2014 at 9:53am
Yeah right, remember jens lehmann? He came to milan as a UEFA cup winner, and look what happened...
on the 15th August, 2014 at 9:22am
btw top 3 you must be crazy only b and g are that deluded at best 5th maybe 4th depending on injuries just remember milan finished 21 points behind napoli last season.
on the 15th August, 2014 at 7:19am
i don't know it seems a bit premature to be comparing lopez to Sebastiano Rossi however in terms of sheer talent lopez has got it. However it is sign of times that milan screw up a deal in 13 for scuffet for 500k but are able to get a deal for lopez on the free.

It also seems a sign of the times that milan are talking about goalkeepers when with maldini silva baresi nesta kaladze costacurta tassotti it never seemed that the gk position was that much of a issue. time to think about a decent cb
on the 15th August, 2014 at 7:16am
Mark my words, Abbiati is the one that's gonna play most of Milan matches this season.
on the 15th August, 2014 at 12:24am
Love the picture with this article... It was the shot from Gabi at the Calderon which Lopez flapped lol
on the 14th August, 2014 at 8:50pm
Others clubs' trash is ac Milan's treasure.

Five goalkeepers couldn't drag this sorry team into a champs league spot. As for inzaghi, what a start he has made, being thrashed.
on the 14th August, 2014 at 8:10pm
With such signings Milan might even challenge for Europa league places this season....
on the 14th August, 2014 at 7:28pm
Milan management has lost the plot. Bringing in washed out players and the breadcrumbs from the big clubs. Even if they are not my team its pathetic to watch them move around in the last years. Their squad absolutely has no sense or coherence and to top it all of Balotelli! The move of the summer will be to bring Boban out of retirement on a free transfer.
The worst part is the Galliani propaganda, Lopez is Europes no1-lol. Try out with some youngsters see how that turns out..
on the 14th August, 2014 at 6:05pm
Galliani tends to do one piece of brilliant business every summer, and Diego Lopez is this year's gem. Why Real Madrid let Lopez go is beyond me, last season (ironically along with his Madrid replacement Navas) he was among the best 3 keepers in La Liga.

Abbiati has done a good job for the past few seasons, but now we have a genuine top class keeper since an early Dida.

Now hopefully Galliani can sniff out another deal with PSG for Lavezzi. All in all it could be a decent transfer window.
on the 14th August, 2014 at 5:17pm
Milan might be in safe hands with Lopez, but they're not in safe hands with Berlusconi & Galliani who have both lost the plot.
on the 14th August, 2014 at 4:32pm
I remain hugely unconvinced and deeply depressed that Bonera is approaching his 9th season of failure at Milan and Mexes exists as a footballer (rather than someone who manages a tanning salon). Well on the bright side Conte has just been made Italy manager by the openly racist new president of the Italian FA. Yippee!
on the 14th August, 2014 at 4:16pm
if Galliani can still afford one of his usual last minute splurges. Why we are linked with a CM I have no idea but if we do sign Džemaili then for the good of Italian football Cristante should just leave Milan because they seem incapable of integrating talented young players. If we sign Mr X then it will be particularly irritating given that all we could muster was a few freebies at the back. Also Galliani's failure to raise any funds from sales this summer is nothing short of a travesty.
on the 14th August, 2014 at 4:13pm
Now now now a lot has happened since the last time we got to vent about Milan. It is difficult to criticise Lopez's signing since he helped Real finish 3rd last season (although he wasn't trusted in the CL???). However at 32 he hardly represents the future. Also if its true that Agazzi will be off on loan then what a brilliant waste of time that signing turned out to be. Given that Milan this summer seem to have a similar transfer budget to a Serie B team I'll be very interested to see....
on the 14th August, 2014 at 4:07pm

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.