News & Features

Published on January 21st, 2020 | by Paula Sanchez-Sanchez

Spanish goalkeepers in the Premier League

It’s not new to hear that an English team has signed a Spanish goalkeeper. Since 2004, 14 have played in the Premier League. 

Young Spanish ‘keepers have seen big opportunities in the English leagues, and that is why many come very young to the Premier League and develop as professional players.

This table shows at what age the goalkeepers came to England. From the youngest goalkeeper playing in the English league to the oldest one. 

Name  Age Team / s  Season 
Robert Sánchez  19 Brighton & Hove 
Forest Green
AFC Rochdale 
   2016 – now 
2018 (loan)
2019 – (loan)
David De Gea 21 Manchester United  2011 – now 
Pau López  21 Tottenham Hotspur  2016 – 2017 
Joel Robles  22 Wigan F.C 
Everton 
      2013 (loan)
2013 – 2018 
Pepe Reina 23 Liverpool F.C
Aston Villa F.C.
2005 – 2013
2020 (loan) 
Kepa Arrizabalaga  23 Chelsea F.C  2018 – now 
Sergio Rico  24 Fulham F.C 2018 – 2019 
Adrián San Miguel  26 West Ham United 
Liverpool F.C
2013 – 2019 
2019 – now 
Manuel Almunia  27 Arsenal F.C
West Ham United 
Watford F.C 
2004 – 2011 
2011 – 2012 
2012 – 2014 
Fabricio Martin  29 Fulham F.C 2018 – 2019 
Vicente Guaita  30 Crystal Palace F.C  2018 – now 
Kiko Casilla  31 Leeds United F.C  2018 – now 
Víctor Valdés  32 Manchester United
Middlesbrough F.C
2014 – 2016 
2016 – 2017 
Ricardo López  32 Manchester United  2004 – 2005 
Roberto Jiménez  33 West Ham United  2019 – now 
César Sánchez  37 Tottenham Hotspur 2008 – 2009 

Spanish goalkeepers have shown plenty of talent talent, and two are on the list of 15 Premier League ‘keepers with 100 or more clean sheets. In sixth position former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina with 134 shut-outs, and in last position of the list is Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea with 104.

This table shows how many appearances the goalkeepers have had during their careers in England.

Pepe Reina  396
David De Gea  358
Manuel Almunia  316
Adrián San Miguel  289
Joel Robles  78
Kepa Arrizabalaga  63
Vicente Guiata  41
Kiko Casilla 38
Sergio Rico  32
Cesar Sánchez 30
Víctor Valdés 30
Robert Sánchez 19
Robert Jiménez Gago  8
Ricardo López Felipe  5
Fabricio Martin  2
Pau López  0

The Premier League is popular around the world, and this has been reflected in the variety of nationalities among its goalkeepers. But arguably its the Spanish ones who have captured the essence of the top division.

The first Spanish goalkeepers arrived in 2004, and this next list picks out some of the notable ones and when they began their careers in England:

2004 – Manuel Almunia – Arsenal 

2004 – Ricardo López – Manchester United 

2005 – Pepe Reina – Liverpool

2008 – César Sánchez – Tottenham Hotspur 

2011 – David De Gea – Manchester United 

2012 – Joel Robles – Wigan F.C 

As the years have passed, Spanish ‘keepers playing in England have gone from being a bit of a novelty to a mainstay of the Premier League.

Current Spanish national team goalkeepers David De Gea and Kepa Arrizabalaga, play here, following in the footsteps of other La Roja ‘keepers such as Pepe Reina and Victor Valdés.

This table shows how many Spanish goalkeepers have been playing in professional English teams down the years:

2004-2006 3
2007-2009  3
2010-2012  3
2013-2015 6
2016-2018 11
2019 -2020 10

A dozen high-level teams have had Spanish goalkeepers during one or more seasons. This five teams are the ones that had a bigger number of them: 

Manchester United – 3 

West Ham United – 3  

Tottenham Hotspur – 2

Liverpool – 2

Fulham – 2 

With a good number of Spanish managers plying their trade in the Premier League, European football’s highest salaries on offer, and the global reach of the English top flight, the flow of goalkeepers from Spain to the UK looks set to continue…

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