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Iago Herrerin thinks reported Arsenal target Unai Simon is 'spectacular'

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Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Iago Herrerin has jumped to the defence of teammate and fellow shot-stopper Unai Simon amid criticism from fans and the media over the last few weeks.

Simon was a star in La Liga last season. The Spaniard even jumped ahead of David de Gea in the pecking order for the national team, but he hasn’t quite had the same kind of luck this time around.

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The 23-year-old has committed six errors leading to goals this season – more than anybody else in Europe’s top-five leagues. (Opta) That is a shocking record for any player, let alone a goalkeeper.

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However, that hasn’t stopped clubs from expressing an interest in him. La Razon claimed recently that Simon is Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s number one target to replace Bernd Leno in the upcoming summer transfer window.

That worried a few supporters, mainly due to Simon’s errors in goal this term. However, Herrerin believes that the Bilbao star is still a ‘spectacular goalkeeper’ and has claimed that he will get back to the level he showed last season very soon.

Iago Herrerin: Unai Simon is a spectacular goalkeeper

He said, as per Mundo Deportivo: “Unai is a spectacular goalkeeper. Last season he was at a very high level. What happens is that when in the next season you don’t do as well, not only in the goalkeeper position, the criticism, doubts begin and it can’t be. 

“In the end we know how heavy the goal of San Mamés. Criticism as long as it is constructive is good. I have experienced destructive criticism and more than once I have already read one for Unai and I feel terrible.

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“Unai has a very high level. Today what you have to do is support, both the press and the fans and everyone else, and Unai will return to the level he has because I know he has a level and he will show it.”

The Insider’s View:

Simon is still only 23, which is extremely young for a goalkeeper. He showed the world how good he is last year, and even though things haven’t quite gone his way this season, he is still a very good player.

Arsenal need to bring a new goalkeeper in this summer – either to replace Leno or to provide top-level competition for him. The German is an amazing shot-stopper, but lack of a decent backup has arguably led to some complacency.

That has to change this summer and Simon would be a very good signing. However, Bilbao will do everything they possibly can to hold on to him, which could force Edu, Arteta and co to look elsewhere.

Read more: Forget Martinelli and Pepe, some Arsenal fans think ‘amazing’ 23-year-old was the real hero yesterday

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