Why the backup to Guglielmo Vicario matters long term

Spurs hit the jackpot with the signing of Vicario last summer, but his understudy will be a key role moving forward. Here's why.
In his debut season for Tottenham, goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario emerged as the sole player to feature in every Premier League match for Spurs, marking a notable achievement.
In his debut season for Tottenham, goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario emerged as the sole player to feature in every Premier League match for Spurs, marking a notable achievement. / Clive Rose/GettyImages

The only player to start every Premier League game for Spurs last season, goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario ultimately had a pretty strong debut season for Tottenham.

It was rumored that manager Ange Postecoglou and the Spurs hierarchy were high on Brentford's David Raya going into last summer, but they ultimately chose the better route with Vicario. The Italian goalie signed for an initial fee of just over 17 million pounds, while Raya went to archrival Arsenal on an initial season-long loan with an option to make the move permanent at 27 million pounds.

So overall, a pretty solid pickup for the man that the Lilywhites hope stays in goal for the next ten years in North London, much like his predecessor, Hugo Lloris, did. Of course, the best-case scenario for Spurs is that Vicario continues to have a clean bill of health and gets the nod to start every Premier League game for the foreseeable future.

So what about the rest of Tottenham's schedule next season? The FA Cup and Carabao Cup ties, plus the Europa League. It would be a lot to ask Vicario to start all of those matches as well. This is where Postecoglou will need a quality number two goalkeeper, someone who can help carry the load and not overwork the man also known as "Venom."

Veteran number two goalkeeper Fraser Forster is set to return for another season, which is great news for Big Ange and his staff. Although he suffered a season-ending injury last year, Forster is a steady and dependable keeper who has filled in quite a few times for the Lilywhites during his tenure with the club. The biggest issue is that his contract ends next summer, and he might not return to Tottenham once it expires.

Behind Forster are two homegrown goalkeepers in Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman. The big question is will one of them be able to step up and grow into that dependable number two keeper that can start with Vicario is unable to? Even if Forster returns, he's not getting any younger (he will be 37 next March), so it is imperative that Spurs find a suitable replacement for him sooner rather than later.

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Why the backup to Guglielmo Vicario matters long term

Austin might be the third choice at goalie right now, but he's only 25 years old and could potentially have a long career if he gets more playing time. He's been with Tottenham since 2015, coming up through their academy after being released by Chelsea. He's been on loan to Danish club Viborg FF in 2019 and to MLS side Orlando City in 2021, getting starting opportunities in both places.

Perhaps another loan would do him well, especially if it's to a European side in a more competitive league like Ligue 1 or Serie A possibly. Even a loan to an English club in League One or the Championship would help, as it would give Austin more exposure and an opportunity to show the club what he could do.

Whiteman is on a similar path to Austin's, as the 25-year-old also joined Spurs in 2015. He's also been out on loan twice, although it was to Swedish club Degerfors in both instances (2021 and 2022). Like Forster, he's under contract with the club until the summer of 2025 as well. The young keeper could use more playing time as well, perhaps to a club in a similar situation as Austin. After all, the only true test to see what a goalkeeper is made of is to see them play.

As good as Forster has been as the second stringer, this is still a big question mark for Postecoglou and technical director Johan Lange. Spurs go as Vicario does, so as long as he's healthy, the club has as a good shot as any other Big Six club when it comes to contending for silverware. However, seeing what Austin and Whiteman can do out on loan will only help the team long term. That's just a fact.

Hopefully, both young goalies get time away from Spurs in this upcoming season so they can prove that they belong at the club long-term, just like "Venom" has already done.