Football

Ireland Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu Signs For Portsmouth

Ireland Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu Signs For Portsmouth

Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu has signed for Portsmouth on loan from Manchester City.

The 19-year-old Dubliner has signed a deal to spent the 2021/22 season on loan at Fratton Park, as he continues his quest to lay claim to the Ireland number one jersey.

Portsmouth manager Danny Crowley hailed Bazunu as one of the best young goalkeepers in Europe in the club's official announcement of his signing, and said that they had had to fight Championship clubs for his signature.

We’re delighted to sign Gavin, who we believe is one of the best young goalkeepers in Europe.

His presence comes from his speed around the box, how well he covers his area and the fact he’s incredibly brave. He has outstanding distribution and will have benefitted tremendously from his loan spell with Rochdale.

Last season he was probably the busiest keeper in League One – he made the most saves in the division. We had to work really hard to make this deal happen as there was also interest from the Championship.

Bazunu's move to Portsmouth comes off the back of his senior international debut in March. He kept his first clean sheet in his fourth appearance for his country in Ireland's 0-0 draw with Hungary in early June, and his impressed fans with his energetic goalkeeping style.

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Bazunu Portsmouth Gavin Bazunu makes a save during the international friendly match between Hungary and Republic of Ireland at Szusza Ferenc Stadion in Budapest, Hungary. Photo: Alex Nicodim/Sportsfile

He spent last season on loan at Rochdale in League One, making 32 appearances in all competitions as part of a team that were ultimately relegated to League Two.

In his first interview with the Pompey club site, Bazunu said he was excited by the opportunity to play at Fratton Park. The former Shamrock Rovers man said that, in particular, manager Danny Crowley's plans for Pompey's playing style had enticed him to sign for the club.

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I can’t wait to get started and now I’m looking forward to meeting all the lads.

The manager said all the right things when he spoke to me about how we’re going to play and how we want to go about things, it really excited me.

I'm trying to be a modern type of goalkeeper, good with my feet, trying to be positive and almost trying to be like an extra man when we have the ball in possession, but also trying to keep the same basics - my job is to keep the ball out of the net.

Bazunu was honest about his long-term hopes, saying that he hopes to stay at Manchester City and ultimately work his way into the first team.

My long term is to play for Manchester City, be the number one there. Whether it takes this loan and another, or however many it takes, my goal is to play for Manchester City.

The news comes hot on the heels of his main rival Caoimhín Kelleher signing a long-term contract extension at Liverpool.

Bazunu should hope for regular game time with Pompey, as first choice keeper Craig MacGillivray has departed for Nigel Adkins' Charlton. Portsmouth finished just outside the play-off places in eighth place in League One last season.

Gavin Bazunu's move to Portsmouth is just the latest instalment in what could be a long, hard-fought battle for Ireland's number one jersey, and fans will be hoping this move only further progresses the career of a very exciting prospect for Irish football.

SEE ALSO: A Tribute To The Magnificently Mental Goalkeeper Jerseys Of The 90s

Eoin Harrington

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