West Ham have signed experienced goalkeeper Roberto on a free transfer from Espanyol, with him joining the club on 1st July once his contract expires with the La Liga club. Aged 33, Roberto has signed with the Hammers on a two year deal with the option to extend this for a further 12 months.
He has joined West Ham most likely as back up to Fabianski, with Adrian being one of the eight players to be released by West Ham this summer. Here’s what Roberto has had to say about his move to London:
“I am looking forward to playing in the Premier League, of course. It’s a big challenge as I consider this to be one of the two best and biggest leagues in the world, with our league in Spain, and I think it’s a dream for every player to come here and play.”
Roberto was born in Madrid and began his career at Atletico Madrid, mainly playing for the B team. Aged 19, Roberto made his professional debut against Osasuna in La Liga, however in 2007/08 he went out on loan to Gimnastic de Tarragona where he made 28 appearances. During 2009/10 Roberto made just 3 appearances for Atletico Madrid as third choice keeper behind Asenjo and De Gea, whilst in January 2010 he went on loan to Zaragoza until the end of the season.
2010/11 was a breakthrough season for Roberto, as he joined Benfica for a fee of €8.5 million, mainly brought in as the number one. During the season, Roberto played on 25 occasions, being somewhat rotated with Julio Cesar. That said, he went on to win the league cup and also reach the Europa League semi-finals as part of the Benfica team.
The season after, Roberto returned to Zaragoza and he remained with them for two seasons after signing for an €8.6 million fee. Across the two seasons the Spanish shot stopper made 71 appearances, helping them avoid relegation in the first season, however in the 2012/13 season Zaragoza returned to the second tier.
This relegation prompted Roberto to re-join Atletico Madrid in 2013 on a four year deal, and he was immediately sent out on loan to Olympiacos, which was made a permanent as Olympiacos paid €2.5 million for the keeper’s services. He went on to make 66 appearances for Olympiacos across various competitions including the Champions League.
In 2016 Roberto joined Espanyol on a three year deal, however after playing second fiddle to Diego Lopez he moved to Malaga on loan.
At international level, the Spanish shot stopper has featured at every youth level from U-17’s through to U-21’s, making a total of 19 appearances. That said he is yet to make a senior appearance for Spain, which is understandable considering the calibre of keepers in front of him.
Fantasy Football Potential
Lukas Fabianski had a brilliant season during the 2018/19 campaign, making the most saves in the league with 148, 20 ahead of all keepers apart from Etheridge who made 141. Therefore unless he suffers an injury, it is difficult to see Robeto getting a look in during the Premier League fixtures. Pellegrini may choose to play Roberto in the Cup fixtures, but he will certainly struggle to claim the number one shirt off of Fabianski who was also voted the clubs player of the season.
Roberto will most likely be priced around £4.0m and therefore could be a player to pick if you are going for the “set and forget” strategy, but that won’t be a popular strategy having drawn Manchester City on the opening day of the season. He will be one to keep an eye on and a potential bargain if something is to happen to the current West Ham number one.