The saga that dominated this summers transfer window, culminating in unprecedented controversy on deadline day, was undoubtedly that of David De Gea to Real Madrid. The manner in which the deal to take the world-class goalkeeper from Manchester United to Real Madrid fell through at the last hour was nothing short of embarrassing for two of the largest clubs in world football. De Gea is said to be understandably upset and frustrated by the failure of the deal, but it is easy to forget that there was another party involved in this debacle.
Current Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas had agreed to be part of the deal which would have seen him switch places with De Gea and join Manchester United, but after the deal fell through, finds himself still in Madrid. Navas was reportedly set to double his wage by moving to Old Trafford, but arguably more disappointing for the Costa Rican is the knowledge that he isn’t the keeper Madrid manager Rafa Benitez wanted between the sticks.
Madrid’s pursuit of De Gea throughout the the transfer window was a much publicised one, which considering Navas had only joined Madrid a year ago, will have almost certainly damaged the 28-year-old’s confidence, who had expected to be the club’s number one following Iker Casillas’s departure at the end of last season. Navas might have reason to be disappointed too, his spell at Levante prior to joining Madrid proved him to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He made more saves than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues in 2013/14 and was picked ahead of Thibaut Courtois as La Liga’s goalkeeper of the season. His stat’s are even more impressive than De Gea’s in fact, but Madrid’s desire to bring Manchester United’s Player of the Year to the Santigo Bernabeu was unrelenting.
Now Navas has a point to prove; he is Real Madrid’s number one goalkeeper whether intended or not, and he must show any doubters why Madrid signed him in the first place, and why Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal considered him a more than capable replacement for De Gea. The Costa Rican has started the season well, saving a penalty in Real’s 5-0 victory over Betis, but many had expected that to be Navas’s last appearance for Madrid. The spotlight will now be on the goalkeeper this weekend as Real travel to Espanyol, giving Navas the chance to show Madrid they already have a world-class keeper at the club, and that the De Gea deal falling through might just be a blessing in disguise.