With rumours that Kepa may be staying at the Bridge for the coming season, it begs the question of whether to sign a goalkeeper. Kepa will need to be challenged by another keeper who might accept being second fiddle early on, but must be good enough to take the reins if Kepa’s form continues downward. With other keepers such as Edouard Mendy and Onana being mentioned, let’s take a look at Alphonse Areola, currently of PSG.
Background – Areola vs Kepa and Mendy
Alphonse Areola is a 27 year old Trench goalkeeper currently at PSG. He is 195 cm tall, which is 9 cm taller than Kepa Arrizabalaga (186cm) and 2 cm shorter than Edouard Mendy (197cm). Areola has had 229 total appearances in his club career, compared to Kepa’s 259 and Mendy’s 122. Throughout those club appearances, Areola has conceded a goal every 98 minutes, with Kepa conceding every 82 minutes, and Mendy conceding every 89 minutes. In addition to that, Areola has 98 clean sheets, comparing favourably to Kepa who has 86 and Mendy who has 49. Furthermore, that means Areola has a clean sheet percentage of 43%, while Kepa has 33% and Mendy has 40%. Areola also can claim he has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, unlike Mendy who has mostly stayed at smaller french sides. Areola has played for PSG, Real Madrid, Villareal, SC Bastia, and RC Lens.
When it comes to saving penalties, Areola is not much of a specialist. He has made 7 penalty saves in his career, whilst failing to save 26 penalties. This gives him a penalty save percentage of 21%. Kepa on the other hand has made 5 penalty saves in his career, with a save percentage of 24%. On the other hand, Mendy is statistically very poor at saving penalties. He has only saved 1 penalty in his career, whilst conceding 21. This means his penalty save percentage is just under 5%, a very poor stat for a player with such a large wingspan.
As a trophy winner, Areola is one of the most decorated goalkeepers in Ligue 1. He has won a World Cup with France (albeit not an important member of the squad), a Spanish Cup, a Spanish Super Cup, 3 French League titles, 2 French Cups, 2 French League Cups, 1 U-20 World Cup, and 4 French Super Cups. Kepa, meanwhile, has won a Europa League and a European U-19 Championship. As for Mendy, his trophy cabinet is as empty as Tottenham – hehas not won a single competitive trophy.
To end things off, let’s take a look at the injury history. Areola has had just two minor injuries in his career which were both over in less than two weeks, both in 2016. Kepa on the other hand has missed 140 days in total due to injury, all of them from his Bilbao days, whereas Mendy has missed 54 days in total.
All in all, Areola is a very experienced keeper who has played for big teams throughout his career. The only worry is that in recent years, he has gone from first-choice to second choice in the teams he plays for. Though this may seem like a bad thing, Areola would be a good competitive second choice keeper for Kepa to worry about, as it seems like the Spaniard is staying for another year.
Source for all stats used in the article: transfermarkt.us
Do you think Alphonse Areola can succeed as competition to Kepa? Let us know in the comments below!