Manuel Veth –
In Keylor Navas, Madrid already have one of the world’s best goalkeepers in their ranks and so the question beckons, does Thibaut Courtois’ move spell the end for the Costa Rican and if so, should Navas consider a move away from La Liga?
It’s fair to say that Courtois’ move to Madrid has come as a bit of a shock, especially with the Belgian stating that he would never been happier at Chelsea just over a year ago. Nevertheless, the Belgian completed what is believed to be a £35 million deal on transfer deadline day, with Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovačić moving the other way on a season-long loan.
What now for Navas?
With the arrival of Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea, it’s difficult to see where Costa Rica’s number-one, Keylor Navas, will fit into Julen Lopetegui’s plans. Despite the fact that Navas was already a well-respected goalkeeper before his move to the Bernabeu, it’s fair to say that he’s performed well above expectation and has established himself as one of the world’s most solid stoppers.
However, Courtois is a top keeper and does not appear to be the kind of player who would move back to Madrid in order to warm the bench. With Navas already reiterating his desire to stay in the Spanish capital, it looks as though the Costa Rican will be reluctant to relinquish his starting position to the Belgian number one. Watch this space – this is going to be an interesting battle.
Is the Champions League still the jewel in the crown?
Courtois’ primary reason for making the switch from London to Madrid appears to lie in being closer to his family but the Belgian will also be undoubtedly desperate to play Champions League football in the upcoming season. While Chelsea did not qualify for the competition, Real Madrid remain an 8/1 shot with most football betting to land the trophy for the fourth consecutive season.
On the other hand, Navas has won the Champions League three times with Los Blancos as well as a La Liga title and may feel like he’s achieved everything he can with the club – the fact that he may no longer be first choice at Madrid may also have a bearing on where the Costa Rican’s future lies.
The Premier League and the Americas have enjoyed a close Relationship in recent years
When you consider that Alisson Becker, Claudio Bravo, David Ospina and Sergio Romero have enjoyed varying degrees of success in the Premier League over the last few years, you start to realise just how many gifted keepers have come out of the South American continent.
With Navas’ recent performances, he could arguably walk into any top European side but the volatile transfer policies of the Premier League could mean that a top-four club will be needing a new shot-stopper sooner rather than later.
Navas looks set to fight it out
If you read between the lines, it appears that Navas is more than happy to stay at Real Madrid and compete with Courtois for the number one jersey and it’s refreshing to see a player wanting to fight for his place. However, you can’t help but think that the Costa Rican’s days at the club may be numbered and if that is the case, the Premier League could represent the perfect destination for the stopper.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.