Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu joins Portsmouth on loan

19-year-old heads to Fratton Park on loan from Man City in search of first team action

Gavin Bazunu has joined Portsmouth on loan from Manchester City. Photograph: Bagu Blanco/Inpho

Gavin Bazunu has joined Portsmouth on loan from Manchester City. Photograph: Bagu Blanco/Inpho

 

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu is set to join Portsmouth on loan. Still a teenager, the Dubliner is contracted to Manchester City until June 2024 so the Premier League champions see him as a long term prospect who needs game time in League One.

It will be Bazunu’s second campaign in the third tier of English football having been loaned to Brian Barry-Murphy’s Rochdale Town last season.

The former Shamrock Rovers man should command a starting role after three goalkeepers, including Craig MacGillivray, left the club this summer.

“I wouldn’t have gone to Manchester City unless I thought I could be the number one goalkeeper,” said Bazunu recently. “Every day, that’s what I work towards. That’s the goal.”

He links up with Ireland teammate Ronan Curtis, although the former Derry City winger is seeking a move to a Championship club before the transfer window closes.

“I like my goalkeepers to have presence,” said Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley. “I like them to be fast, we want to press really high so I like them to be able to play high out of their goal - and be comfortable doing it.

“They’ve got to be like Xavi haven’t they!

“If you watch goalkeepers in the Euros, about 90 per cent of their job is actually distribution with their feet.”

Manchester City’s decision to send Bazunu on another loan spell was expected as he needs more experience before challenging Ederson at the Ethiad. All his moves are agreed by Donegal native Fergal Harkin - the “Football Partnerships and Pathways” manager at City - goalkeeper coach Xabi Mancisidor and the player’s agent at Gest Eleven.

“I have a lot of trust in them and I just let them work in the background and they come to me whenever they have had their meetings or when they have something on the table,” said Bazunu. “I am open to going anywhere which will help aid my progression as a footballer.”

This is encouraging news for Stephen Kenny, who wants his number one goalkeeper for the past four internationals to get regular first team football, unlike Darren Randloph playing second fiddle behind Lukasz Fabianski at West Ham United and Caoimhín Kelleher at Liverpool.

Kenny stuck with Bazunu for June friendlies against Andorra and Hungary, with a pointed comment about exposing the 19-year-old to the crowd in Budapest ahead of their World Cup qualifier away to Portugal in September.

Kelleher, despite an acrobatic debut off the bench in Hungary, would need to find a similar move away from Merseyside to remain central to Kenny’s plans. However, Liverpool just re-signed the 22-year-old Cork man on a long term contract.

“It was in the pipeline for a few months with negotiations and stuff, so I am delighted to get it done,” said Kelleher. “It was a big year for me in terms of playing the first-team games this year and more important games. Being thrown into the Champions League and Premier League games was big for my development and being able to handle that.

“It gave me a lot of confidence to try to push on, to try to keep pushing Ali [BECKER]because I can play at that kind of level and do well. I am looking forward, try to keep pushing him and we’ll see what happens.”

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