The past decade of goalkeeping in Roma has been a grab bag of undersized overachievers and oversized underachievers. From Bogdan Lobont, Doni, Julio Sergio and Artur a decade ago to Marten Stekelenburg and Mauro Goicoechea in more recent seasons, Roma perfected the art of mediocre goalkeeping. All that changed when the club signed Wojciech Szczesny and Alisson Becker, two men who completely reset our expectations for goalkeepers. No longer was merely averting disaster acceptable, Woj, and especially Alisson, showed us that keepers could be more than game managers; they could be game changers.
Szczesny's time in Rome was just our first taste, but watching Alisson stand on his head and practically reinvent the position made us full blown goalkeeping lunatics. So when James Pallotta went back on his vow to never sell Alisson, Roma fans were left reeling: who could possibly fill those shoes? Could anyone provide us with that same rush?
We're a few years past that horrible sale now, but one thing is for certain: Robin Olsen wasn't that guy. Antonio Mirante, as solid a veteran as he is, is not that guy. Daniel Fuzato could be that guy but he's literally never played. But what about Pau Lopez? What sort of chord does he strike with Roma fans?
Purchased just last summer from Real Betis for €23.5 million, Lopez was actually the 11th most expensive keeper transfer ever and with a €3 million annual salary, he's the third highest earner on the squad. He doesn't have to be Alisson, but those numbers do demand top notch production.
But what kind of return have Roma received on this investment thus far? Has Lopez really been one of the top ten to twenty keepers in the world?
Well, let's take a look at the numbers. Keeping in mind that some keeper stats are more dependent on the defense than others, Lopez barely looks like a top ten keeper in Italy, let alone the world.
1.41 goals allowed per 90 (10th in Serie A)
Save percentage of 72 (8th in Serie A)
5 clean sheets (12th in Serie A)
Clean sheet percentage: 18.5% (12th in Serie A)
Stopped cross percentage: 5.3% (16th in Serie A)
Passes >40 yds competed: 47% (5th in Serie A)
20 defensive actions outside penalty area (2nd in Serie A)
As you can see, most of the basic stats aren't very kind to Lopez, but what about the more nuanced metrics?