review the career of new Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who
completed a transfer from Sunderland to Anfield earlier today…
Belgian stopper Simon Mignolet bolstered Liverpool's goalkeeping
ranks when he completed a switch from Barclays Premier League side
Sunderland in June 2013.
Despite dreams of playing in an outfield position, the 25-year-old
started his career with hometown club Sint-Truiden between the posts and
progressed quickly through the youth levels.
In total Mignolet made 104 appearances for Sint-Truiden and
contributed as the Belgian team achieved promotion to the top flight
during the 2008-09 campaign by winning the second division title.
Remarkably, Simon actually scored a goal for the team during that
season. In a match at Ronse in April 2009, the 'keeper stepped up to
attempt a penalty kick and converted the rebound after his initial
effort was blocked.
Growing in confidence and developing an imposing presence as the last
line of defence, Mignolet played 39 league matches the following year
to help Sint-Truiden finish fifth and enter the end-of-season play-offs.
Some of Europe's biggest clubs were beginning to circle around the
promising stopper and it was Sunderland who were victorious in the race
for the Belgian's signature; a fee of around £2million was agreed.
With Craig Gordon established as No.1 for the Black Cats, Mignolet
was expected to begin life at the Stadium of Light on the bench. But an
injury to the Scot provided his new teammate with an opportunity to
Simon never looked back; his reflex shot-stopping, courage in
one-on-one scenarios and command of the penalty area were highly
appreciated and he rapidly cemented his first-choice spot on Wearside.
International recognition deservedly arrived for the Belgian during
2011 and he made his senior debut for the Red Devils in a Euro 2012
qualifying victory at Austria in March of that year.
He has now made 13 appearances for the national team - including a
friendly against England in June 2012 - and is battling compatriot
Thibaut Courtois for a potential starting berth at the World Cup next
Although Sunderland veered dangerously close to relegation at times,
2012-13 proved to be Mignolet's most consistent campaign since arriving
on English shores.
The stopper was ever-present in the league, playing all 38 league
fixtures, and kept an impressive 11 clean sheets - enough to earn
joint-fifth in the Premier League shut-out rankings.
Mignolet's ability to prevent goals was evident in the number of
saves he produced last season - 149. That number was second only to
Jussi Jaaskelainen among all of the goalkeepers in the top flight.
Naturally, Simon began to attract interest from numerous clubs
throughout England and further afield; Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool
were reportedly included in those with a strong interest as summer
Rodgers formalised that interest in June 2013 and Mignolet completed
his switch to Anfield after signing in at Melwood on June 25.