Rangers Interested In Costa Rican Goalie Esteban Alvarado


According to reports in Turkey, and subsequently in Scotland, Rangers are looking to make a move for Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado who currently plays for Trabzonspor.

Now it is always hard to wade through the random transfer stories and work out the truth from the fiction, especially when it involves the Old Firm and a country like Turkey. Agents and foreign sides always see the Glasgow sides as ideal clubs to link their players with and see if that can create genuine interest from other sides. With Trabzonspor struggling financially. I’d imagine they would like to get Esteban off the wage bill.

But the move isn’t totally inconceivable as Gers gaffer Mark Warburton must be on the lookout for a goalie to come in and challenge Wes Foderingham.

Foderingham had a decent debut season at Ibrox but a few performances suggested that his concentration levels aren’t always the best, He also seems to have more than a few mistakes in him and isn’t that great at commanding his area.

I think competition for all places in the team is a good thing and the better players thrive on it. With Cammy Bell not making a single appearance last term, it seems likely that the Scot isn’t considered to be first team material by those in the know at Murray Park.

So you’d expect that more adequate back-up needs to be found.

Southend United’s highly thought of goalkeeper Daniel Bentley has also been linked with a move to Ibrox. But with Premier League sides Burnley and Bournemouth also sniffing around him, he could be out of Gers price range.

In Esteban Alvarado, Rangers would certainly be getting a larger than life character.

In late 2011 Esteban was attacked by a drunken Ajax fan during a Dutch Cup game. The goalkeeper wasn’t taking any nonsense and floored the supporter before being seen to kick out at his fallen assailant. In a bizarre move the match official decided to send Alvarado off for violent misconduct. The game would then be abandoned as the keeper’s AZ colleagues walked off in protest. The red card was later rescinded, the match replayed (AZ won) and the fan was sentenced to six months jail time.

Maybe after the pitch invasion at Hampden after last months Scottish Cup final Rangers are keen to bring in reinforcements that are known for being able to handle themselves.

That would probably do a disservice to Alvarado although he has been in trouble with the police, has made a habit of turning up late for training sessions and was suspended by the Costa Rican FA after walking out on the squad before a match. He may be a handful for Warburton, especially with Barton already in the ranks.

In AZ he is fondly remembered. When fit he was their number one and he helped them to their KNVB Cup win in 2013. In 2012 he kept fifteen cleansheets in the league and was widely thought of as being one of the best keepers in the Eredivisie.

After five years at AZ Alkmaar he decided to go in search of a new challenge and ended up signing a two year deal with Trabzonspor.

In his debut year in Turkey, the Costa Rican has battled with Onur Kivrak for the number one spot. Esteban would end up playing sixteen times for Karadeniz Fırtınası, keeping five cleansheets in the process. But alas he also conceded a fair amount of goals as Trabzonspor struggled defensively. In May, he would be in between the sticks and watch seven goals go past him as his side were humiliated by MP Antalyaspor. Only two sides in the Turkish top flight would concede more than Trabzonspor this season and they were the bottom two sides; Eskisehirspor and Mersin.

Much was expected of Esteban Alvarado on the international stage. As a youngster he won the Golden Glove award in the U-20 World Cup in 2009, with Costa Rica reaching the semi-final stage.

Fall-outs with management at senior level stalled his progress and the emergence of Kaylor Navas has since seen him as primarily as a back-up for La Tricolour. He has managed to win eleven cpas for his country but misses their Copa America campaign this summer due to a hamstring injury.

Ability wise he seems similar to Foderingham in that he is a fine, if flamboyant, shot-stopper and able to play with the ball at his feet. He’s one of those goalkeepers that likes to parry a shot rather than catch it and he can easily put the ball back into dangerous positions.

All in all I think it would be a funny move if Rangers decided to go after Alvarado. I’d have thought they would go after either a young hot-shot keeper or an experience one that has proven themselves in Britain.

Plus would the Costa Rican want to come to Glasgow if he isn’t guaranteed a first team place (and he won’t)? He’s twenty-six and already established himself at AZ. So I’d imagine that he’ll end up elsewhere and that Rangers will go for another target. But this is transfer season after all.

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