Dan Cook has admitted he’s concerned over Vicente Guaita’s inability to play out from the back amid his new Crystal Palace deal.
It was reported a few days ago that Crystal Palace’s No 1 for the past few seasons had been rewarded with a new contract, despite Sam Johnstone arriving over the summer.
The Spaniard has managed to hold onto his starting spot by playing in every league game thus far, although Cook is worried about the long-term plan with Guaita due to his apparent lack of ability on the ball.
Cook claimed on the HLTCO podcast that he’s worried about Guaita’s status as Palace’s No 1 if he continues to be poor using his feet.
He said: “I have no real issues with Vicente Guaita as a shot-stopper. I think he, from all of the old-school goalkeeping measures, is more than passable as a Premier League goalkeeper.
“However, I’ve had concerns, shall we say, about his ability to distribute the ball with his feet since the start of last season, because quite clearly, under a Patrick Vieira tactical setup, the building out from the back, the possession we look to have with our two centre-backs in Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen is something that really has to have a goalkeeper that is competent with his feet and can pass the ball in difficult positions.
Who should be Palace number one?
“I always go back to it in my mind for some reason, but the first game of last season away at Chelsea – obviously, a pretty comprehensive defeat in the end – I could see that there were the foundations being laid of a more possession-based style for Patrick Vieira, and I just immediately felt as though Vicente Guaita wasn’t well-placed to be a goalkeeper that implements that tactical setup, and that has been a genuine concern of mine pretty much ever since the Frenchman became Palace boss.”
TIF Thoughts on Guaita…
Given that Guaita’s deal is just a one-year extension, it would suggest that Palace are respecting what he’s done for the club over the years while also protecting their asset, so if he decides to leave in the summer, he would demand a transfer fee.
However, it does also beg the question as to why Johnstone was brought in over the summer, as he’s gone from being a No 1 at West Brom and having recently earned an England call-up to now sitting on the bench every week.
While Cook is indeed concerned by Guaita’s ability with the ball at his feet, the stats suggest he isn’t actually too bad, with the average length of his passes being the sixth-shortest in the league, showing he is indeed looking to play those short passes as often as possible, while he’s also only attempted 142 passes over 40 yards, which is fewer than the likes of his counterparts at Newcastle United and Brighton (FBref).