Real Madrid may be back on top of La Liga but it was another rollercoaster weekend for goalkeeper Keylor Navas in a display that could have gone a long way to sealing his Bernabeu fate.
The Costa Rica international should have been sent off, scored an own goal and then made a marvellous late save to preserve victory as Madrid came from behind to beat Betis 2-1.
Delight for Madrid then, but quite possibly despair for Navas who has struggled all season after surgery on a heel injury. The Madrid stopper has managed just four Liga clean sheets, compared to 11 for both Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Sergio Asenjo, while Jan Oblak has nine.
It’s worth pointing out that Navas has played behind a whole host of defensive combinations this season but even so his form will be a reason for concern and it could be that the club’s next galactico might just be a goalkeeper.
Here’s a look at who could be heading to Madrid this summer…
The One That Got Away – David De Gea
The Manchester United man has already slipped though Real Madrid’s grasp once, after that botched transfer in 2015, but remains on their radar after continuing to star for Manchester United. The Spain international has 10 clean sheets in 26 appearances for Jose Mourinho’s side this season and reports from Spain claim scouts from Madrid were at Stamford Bridge on Monday to watch both De Gea and Thibaut Courtois in action.
If so they would have witnessed another masterclass from De Gea who saved brilliantly from Eden Hazard and Gary Cahill as his side narrowly lost 1-0 in the FA Cup despite playing the majority of the game with 10 men.
De Gea signed a new four-year deal shortly after Madrid’s attempts to sign him in 2019 and United are under no financial pressure to sell. However, should they again miss out on the Champions League (they are 15/8 to finish in the top four) Madrid may fancy their chances of luring him to the Bernabeu.
The Brilliant Belgian – Thibaut Courtois
Courtois was also in fine form on Monday night, saving brilliantly from Marcus Rashford when the teenager was through on goal and looking set to bring the scores level. The 24-year-old actually has a better record than De Gea this season with 13 clean sheets in 27 appearances and looks set to win his second Premier League title.
Courtois played down talk of a possible move to Madrid after the win over Manchester United on Monday insisting he was focused on Chelsea. However, he has previously spoken of a desire to return to Spain at some point in his career, describing himself as “half-Spanish”.
He is also yet to begin talks over a new deal, with his current contract set to expire in 2019, a detail which will not have gone unnoticed in the Spanish capital.
The Dark Horse – Hugo Lloris
The France captain gave Tottenham an early Christmas present by signing a new long-term deal in December although that might not be enough to deter Madrid and with 10 clean sheets in 24 Premier League games, Lloris’ record is comparable to both Courtois and De Gea.
While there is no suggestion Lloris wants to leave Spurs he was critical of his side after they crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages insisting “the Europa League is not enough for a club like Spurs”.
Mauricio Pochettino’s are men currently on target to secure a top four finish but an injury to Harry Kane has hit their hopes and should they miss out it might leave the club vulnerable to an approach for their goalkeeper. Recent reports have also claimed that Madrid are willing to double Lloris’ £100,000-per-week wages which he may find difficult to turn down.
The Teenage Sensation – Gianluigi Donnarumma
Remarkably the AC Milan goalkeeper only celebrated his 18th birthday last month but it’s no surprise to hear Madrid are sniffing around the teenager. Donnarumma is the youngest player ever to save a penalty in Serie A, the youngest goalkeeper ever to play for Italy and he’s already made 60 appearances in Italy’s top flight. This season he has nine clean sheets in 28 league appearances and the scary thing he, he’s only going to get better.
But this is where it gets interesting, Donnarumma will be a free agent in 2018 when his current three-year deal expires and although he is a lifelong Milan fan his future is far from certain. The takeover of the Rossoneri by proposed owners Sino Europe Sports (SES) was delayed yet again earlier this month and there is still no clear idea of when it will be completed. In the meantime, Donnarumma’s contract is slowly winding down and if Milan are not careful, they may lose of their most prized assets.
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