Jose Mourinho will rue Daniel Levy’s handling of Paulo Gazzaniga’s future this summer, as the “magic” goalkeeper has now been backed to quit Tottenham Hotspur in the January window by Paul Robinson.
While speaking with Football Insider, former Spurs shot-stopper Robinson has suggested Gazzaniga will be looking for a way out of north London in the mid-season market, as the 28-year-old’s head will have been turned by speculation surrounding his future this summer.
The Argentine was linked with a potential Deadline Day move to Everton, while Aston Villa and top-four rivals Liverpool are now said to be considering Gazzaniga as an option to offer competition for ex-Arsenal ace Emiliano Martinez and Brazil’s Allison Becker respectively.
Gazzaniga has fallen further down Mourinho’s pecking order this season after the Portuguese tactician sought Joe Hart as a free agent, and has since handed the former Manchester City ace a place on the bench in all eight Premier League games to date.
Mourinho has further opted against naming Gazzaniga in any of his matchday squads for the Europa League or EFL Cup this term, leaving the £20,000-per-week man an outcast despite playing 16 of his 18 top-flight games last season after Hugo Lloris’ dislocated elbow.
The situation is now such that Robinson believes Gazzaniga will have to look for a move when the transfer market opens in six-weeks’ time, as he is too good to not even make the bench.
“I think he thought he was gone [in the summer],” Robinson said. “I suspect something was lined up and he thought he was leaving, and that is why Jose Mourinho brought in Joe Hart.
“There’s been talk of Aston Villa and Liverpool, teams looking for back-ups. I think his head was turned and, in his mind, he may have thought he was gone. I could see him leaving in January – he will not want to sit there as number three because he had a taste of being number one while Huge was out.
“We will see Gazzaniga move on in January or the end of the season. He is not a number three goalkeeper; he is a top goalkeeper.”
With Robinson backing Gazzaniga to quit Spurs in January, Mourinho will be ruing Levy’s inability to get a deal to sell the Argentine across the line this summer having been in talks with Everton before Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees acquired AS Roma’s Robin Olsen on loan.
Everton were only interested in taking Gazzaniga on a season-long deal when they held discussions on Deadline Day, but Spurs Chairman Levy stood firm in seeking a permanent deal despite his asking price being deemed “too expensive” by the Goodison Park outfit.
Mourinho would, no doubt, have liked to have seen Levy sell Gazzaniga in the summer, as the Portuguese was later forced into the “very difficult” decision of omitting the 28-year-old from Tottenham’s Europa League squad.
“It is very difficult,” the former Chelsea boss said, via quotes by football.london. “To leave a player out is like to stop the player to fight for something he wants, that is always is very, very hard.
“The good thing is in January you can change, so if you have a different view you change. The Gazzaniga situation, with Hugo and Joe we believe that for the next couple of months we can do it with an academy goalkeeper, with a young English kid.”
In doing so, Mourinho deprived himself of a goalkeeper he lauded as being capable of producing magic following Tottenham’s dramatic 2-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers last December.
“My father played in this stadium against Wolves in the UEFA Cup as a goalkeeper,” Mourinho said. “He was always telling me a goalkeeper of a top team had to be different to the others because the goalkeeper of a top team doesn’t have ten saves to make. You have one, but when the one comes the magic hands have to be there and Paulo did it for us.”
It remains to be seen if Gazzaniga has done enough in training to force Mourinho into altering his plans. But given the Portuguese has so far looked elsewhere in the EFL Cup, it will be more likely that the 28-year-old follows through on Robinson’s remarks and searches for a new side this winter.