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Arsenal loans David Ospina to Napoli

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Arsenal’s goalkeeping backlog has finally been solved.

With Bernd Leno signed this offseason, it seemed David Ospina would be surplus to requirements, and that’s exactly the case as the Gunners ship the Colombian international to Serie A side Napoli on loan.

The Serie A season is set to get under way tomorrow, and Napoli’s goalkeeping situation remains in serious flux after the team completely turned over its entire corps of goalkeepers from last season. The Serie A starter Pepe Reina moved to AC Milan upon the expiration of his contract, plus Luigi Sepe went out on loan and Rafael departed for Sampdoria on a free.

Now, another former Premier League goalkeeper will take over in net. Other goalkeepers on the Napoli roster include Greek international Orestis Karnezis on loan from Udinese and 22-year-old Nikita Contini, plus the injured Alex Meret also on loan from Udinese.

Ospina has been with Arsenal since moving from French club Nice in 2014, but has never been able to earn a true starting role. He started 18 Premier League matches towards the end of the 2014/15 season with Wojciech Szczesny‘s Arsenal tenure coming to an end, but since has made no more than five league appearances in any campaign, stuck behind former Chelsea starter Petr Cech.

However, Ospina often served as Arsenal’s Cup competition goalkeeper, making 14 Champions League appearances and 10 Europa League appearances over his tenure at the Emirates.

The 29-year-old Colombian has 90 caps for his country, including starts in all four matches in the 2018 World Cup this summer, where he performed admirably in a defeat on penalties to eventual semifinalists England.

Vlasic, N’Koudou seal loan deals; Ospina gets Napoli medical

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Two Premier League players are departing their clubs for loan stints elsewhere in Europe, and a third is a medical away from leaving London.

Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina is reportedly undergoing a medical ahead of a move to Serie A powers Napoli.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings, Week 1 ]

The Colombian will have a chance to start after a long-term injury to Napoli’s No. 1, Alex Meret, who was bought from Udinese for nearly $40 million this summer. Pepe Reina left Napoli in the offseason.

The club’s goalkeeping corps also includes ex-Waftford player Orestis Karnezis and 22-year-old Nikita Contini.

Everton’s Nikola Vlasic is leaving Goodison Park for a season with CSKA Moscow. Vlasic, 20, played 19 times for the Toffees last season, scoring twice.

Also on the move is Tottenham’s Georges-Kevin N’Koudou. The 23-year-old Frenchman is headed to the Bundesliga with Mainz after going on loan to Burnley last season.

Of the three, only Ospina is probable to leave his parent club after the season, with Napoli holding an option to buy the player.

Spain coach Hierro backs de Gea

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Fernando Hierro has made it clear who he thinks will be starting in goal for La Furia Roja.

The interim Spanish National Team coach shut down rumors and whispers that he was considering a goalkeeper change for the knockout stage of the World Cup, saying in an interview on Spanish station RNE that David De Gea will start the next match against Russia. De Gea has made some uncharacteristic errors during the tournament, including on Cristiano Ronaldo’s second goal in Spain’s wild 3-3 draw with Portugal in the opening match of Group B.

[ MORE: 2018 World Cup Best XI (so far)]

“Yes, he will play,” Hierro said, referring to De Gea.

De Gea also allowed two goals to Morocco, which saw Spain rescue a point in second half stoppage time thanks to Iago Aspas.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The 27-year-old de Gea has been in sparkling form in the past for both Spain and Manchester United, but there were whispers after his performance in the group stage that he could have been replaced by Kepa Arrizabalaga or Pepe Reina.

Now, it seems that Hierro trusts in de Gea, which could bode well for the future for both Spain and Man United.

No World Cup for Chelsea’s Spanish trio

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Spain has left Chelsea trio Alvaro Morata, Marcos Alonso, and Pedro off its World Cup squad.

Also omitted were Napoli’s Jose Callejoin and Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin.

[ MORE: MLS Things — The Archive ]

Manager Julen Lopetegui did include Blues defender Cesar Azpilicueta and ex-Chelsea man Diego Costa, as well as Manchester United’s David De Gea, Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal, and Man City’s David Silva.

Spain is expected to contend for the tournament crown in Russia, led by a stellar midfield which includes Silva, Andres Iniesta, Isco, and Thiago Alcantara.

Spain is in a group with Portugal, Iran, and Morocco.

Spain’s World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: De Gea, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Pepe Reina

Defenders: Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Azpilicueta, Nacho, Alvaro Odriozola, Jordi Alba, Monreal, Dani Carvajal

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Asensio, Iniesta, Isco, Saul Niguel, Thiago Alcantara, Koke, Silva.

Forwards: Diego Costa, Rodrigo, Iago Aspas, Lucas Vazquez.

Like clockwork, top goalkeepers criticize new World Cup ball

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It’s a tradition as old as time — the union of top goalkeepers from all over the world, no matter the continent from which they hail, complaining about the new ball to be used at the upcoming World Cup.

[ MORE: New USMNT kits for 2018 World Cup ]

By the end of this summer’s tournament in Russia, you’ll reflexively twitch every time you hear the words “Telstar 18.” Goalkeepers will tell you that it’s designed to deceive them, to boost goalscoring numbers during major tournaments.

Below you’ll find the critical, but restrained so as not to offend, assessments of goalkeepers David De Gea (Spain’s no. 1), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Germany’s no. 1b) and Pepe Reina (De Gea’s wily backup) — quotes from FourFourTwo:

“It’s really strange. It could have been made a lot better.”

“The ball could be better; it moves a lot. But I think we’re just going to have to get used to working with it — and try to get to grips with it as quickly as possible before the World Cup starts. We’ve got no other option.”

“They should change it. There’s still time.”

[ MORE: France blow a lead, lose to Colombia; England top Holland ]

Unsurprisingly, top attacking stars — those who presumably stand to benefit from a ball that unpredictably moves on goalkeepers — have given their seal of approval for Telstar 18.