Saint Paulo Becomes Fourth Signing

By SFC Media Fri 20 Jul Club

Argentinian goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga has this morning joined Saints on a four-year deal.

The 20-year-old moves from npower League 2 side Gillingham for an undisclosed fee and has now linked up with his new team during their French training camp.

Gazzaniga - pronounced Gass-a-neega - will train with Saints in Évian-les-Bains today with a view to being involved in tomorrow's friendly against Évian Thonon Gaillard.

As part of the deal to bring the former Valencia stopper to St Mary's, Tommy Forecast will join the Gills on a season-long loan once the Saints squad return to England next week.

Paulo said: "I am very happy because signing for a Premier League team is a dream.

"It's mad because I only played a few matches last season - it's a crazy situation.

"The Club has a lot of ambition, so I was eager to sign. I can't wait to get started."

First Team Manager Nigel Adkins said: "We have been looking for a young, hungry goalkeeper and Paulo fitted that mould.

"We are delighted that we have secured his services and that he has come out to Évian to join up with the group.

"He will be in an environment that we think will help him improve under the guidance of our goalkeeping coach, Jim Stannard, and Kelvin Davis, who has a lot of experience and I know that he will take him under his wing."

In Profile: Paulo Gazzaniga

Paulo was born in January 1992 in the small Argentinian town of Murphy, on the outskirts of Santa Fe.

His father David - himself a goalkeeper - spent his footballing career moving between Argentina, Ecuador and Peru, taking his family with him.

Keen to follow in David's goalkeeping footsteps, Paulo moved to Spain as a fifteen-year-old to pursue a footballing life of his own in Europe.

He was signed by Valencia CF - then La Liga's third-top side - in 2010 but found competitive football hard to come by, training with the club's fourth string before eventually making his debut for the youth team near the end of the season.

Six-foot-five Gazzaniga was released when his Mestalla contract expired in the summer of 2011, leading him to move over to England to look for a new club here.

He linked up with Gillingham on trial, and was quickly offered a two-year deal by manager Andy Hessenthaler.

Paulo began last season as the Gills' second-choice goalkeeper, but made his debut in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat to Barnet last October.

He had to wait until January before making his first league appearance in a 4-3 loss at Accrington Stanley, having come on as a half-time substitute with his side 4-1 down.

Gazzaniga went on to make the number-one shirt his own and kept seven clean sheets during the second half of the season as Gills narrowly missed out on a play-off place.

Paulo's performances at Priestfield won him plenty of admirers among England's leading clubs, and he has now chosen St Mary's as his next footballing destination.

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