Two English Premier League sides added to their ranks on Wednesday, as West Ham and Fulham both picked up new goalkeepers.
The Hammers have brought in Real Betis stopper Adrian, the 26-year-old will join West Ham on July 1 after his contract with Betis runs out.
While as we revealed in the Transfer Rumor Roundup yesterday, Dutch international Maarten Stekelenburg has completed his move to Craven Cottage from AS Roma. The giant Dutchman has worked with Fulham’s manager Martin Jol before at Ajax and was keen to make the switch to West London.
“I am very happy to be joining Fulham, and to have everything sorted out so early in the summer, so I can really focus on preparations for playing in the Premier League next season,” Stekelenburg said. “It’s good that I’ll be joining Martin [Jol] again, he knows my capabilities very well, so I am just looking forward to joining up with the team in pre-season and enjoying some time with them prior to the new season starting.”
While Adrian was equally excited to be moving to the EPL.
“I am extremely happy and ecstatic to have joined such a legendary and historical club. I am really looking forward to being able to kick-off my career in the best league in the world with West Ham.”
Both ‘keepers will likely be first choice at their respective new clubs. But is that a little bit harsh on the old guys who played so well for large spells last year? Jussi Jaaskelainen was one of the league’s best ‘keepers and made more saves than any other goalkeeper last term. He was also runner-up as West Ham’s player of the year and at the age of 38, the Finn may still have a few years left in him.
While there will be a close battle for the No. 1 shirt at West Ham, no such challenge should be present at Fulham. 40-year-old ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer has made 170 appearances for the Cottagers but he hasn’t been offered a new deal and looks to be heading out of the club this summer when his contract expires.
Schwarzer wasn’t too optimistic about staying at Fulham when asked recently while on international duty with Australia, and Stekelenburg’s arrival has all but dashed any lingering hopes the Socceros ‘keeper may have had of prolonging his Fulham career.
Decent goalkeepers are hard to find and despite a few mistakes here and there over their lengthy EPL careers, Jaaskelainen and Schwarzer are top notch ‘keepers. Replacing them with promising youngsters isn’t always the right thing to do.
But Adrian and Stekelenburg have been playing regularly in La Liga and Serie A, so I think, reluctantly, it may be the end of the line for two of the EPL’s goalkeeping stalwarts.