Dream, realistic, wildcard: who could rescue Keylor Navas and Isco from the Real Madrid bench?

Dream, realistic, wildcard: who could rescue Keylor Navas and Isco from the Real Madrid bench?

Despite playing key roles in Real Madrid‘s Champions League triumphs of the previous three seasons, both Isco and Keylor Navas are significantly struggling for playing time at the Bernabeu.

Navas clinched Europe’s ‘Goalkeeper of the Season’ accolade last term but the summer arrival of Thibaut Courtois has pushed the Costa Rican down the pecking order and out of favour with newly-appointed Santiago Solari.

That too appears to be the case for Isco, who has started just 10 games in all competitions this season, as reports of a fractious relationship continue to dominate headlines, with the Andalusian supposedly refusing to shake his manager’s hand after the Eibar defeat back in November and recently accusing Solari of not giving him the opportunities as his teammates.

Navas himself has already vented his frustration towards playing a more sporadic role and second fiddle to Courtois this campaign, stating: “I went from winning three consecutive Champions Leagues to not playing.” Although Navas did come back into the side for the 1-1 Classico draw at the Nou Camp recently, meaning he has never lost on his five visits to the home of Real’s eternal enemy.

While former Barcelona left-back Sergi Barjuan has recently welcomed Isco’s arrival at the Camp Nou, believing the playmaker would be a revelation in Catalonia.

Both are of world-class stock, but both currently sit on the periphery in the Spanish capital. And so, should the duo part ways from Los Blancos, who are the potential suitors capable of splashing the cash and recruiting either Real Madrid outcast?

Keylor Navas

Dream: Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund are once more firing on all cylinders both domestically and on the European stage. Lucien Favre has so far transformed the club’s fortunes and reinstated the Ruhr district giants as a dominant force in the Bundesliga.

But it still seems an age ago since Die Borussen were competing in the Champions League final, and should they have any aspirations of replicating that magnificent feat, then they will need a world-class shot-stopper. Roman Burki is a more-than-capable goalkeeper, but Navas has the European experience and requisite acumen, having clinched the trophy himself three times in a row.

Realistic: Juventus

Replacing a figure of Gianluigi Buffon’s esteem is no small measure, and while Wojciech Szczesny has proven a proficient pair of hands between the sticks this season, Massimiliano Allegri may yet be on the hunt for a more prestigious gloveman.

Navas has been mooted to reunite with former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin and having won three Champions League titles with Los Blancos, that could be exactly the sort of pedigree Allegri is seeking as he bids to lift the highly-coveted ‘Big-Ears’ trophy himself.

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Wildcard: Atletico Madrid

Jan Oblak is widely touted as the finest ‘keeper on the planet, but his current contract will expire in just over two years. The Slovenian is yet to renew terms with Los Colchoneros, which he is reportedly displeased about, leading to speculation of a move away from the Wanda Metropolitano.

The 25-year-old reportedly has an £87m buyout clause, which has alerted the attention of some of Europe’s elite, none more so than PSG. And so, should a move come to fruition, then Navas could provide Diego Simeone with the perfect solution were he to lose his star stopper.

Squawka Suggests: Napoli

With David Ospina only on a season-long loan from Arsenal and no patent first-choice at the Stadio San Paolo, Navas could prove a be a shrewd piece of business should Carlo Ancelotti look to bolster his goalkeeping armoury.

The 31-year-old was named in the Champions League ‘Squad of the Season’ last term and is an obvious upgrade on Ospina; Ancelotti will certainly be keen to secure the services of a permanent No.1 in the summer and he will find no better than Navas.


Dream: Barcelona

If reports of a wayward relationship between Isco and Solari are accurate, then a move to the club’s eternal rivals Barcelona would be the ultimate kick in the teeth for Solari – who has afforded his No.22 just 78 minutes of first-team action since replacing Julen Lopetegui.

Isco could follow in the footsteps of Luis Enrique – a manager who has provided him two starts in Spain’s previous two matches – by relocating from the Bernabeu to the Camp Nou, a club he was once heavily linked with during his playing days with Malaga.

It is a move that seems almost implausible in the modern age, such is the oversaturated nature of the transfer market. But then again, people would have said the same of Luis Figo some 18 years ago and Barca’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, himself is refusing to rule out a move for any Madrid player, should they be unhappy in the Spanish capital.

Barca already have Coutinho operating in the No.10 role, but there can be no denying that Isco is the quintessential Blaugrana player, such is his elegant build, graceful movement and sophisticated vision.

Realistic: Paris Saint-Germain

Any transfer activity involving Isco would require a significant financial fee as the playmaker only signed a new Los Blancos contract last year, keeping him in the Spanish capital until 2022, while there are also reports that his release clause is circa £600m.

It is unlikely that any club would have to adhere to the stipulations of that substantial clause, but that does not mean the attacking midfielder would come cheap; at present, Isco is not considered a first-team option and is also reportedly seeking the exit door, which would, of course, bring down his fee.

President Florentino Perez is an astute negotiator and so, should Europe’s tycoons come knocking, then there is no doubt the 71-year-old will charge an inflated price, though that has never deterred PSG in the past, who will be looking to add quality in midfield with Adrien Rabiot’s future in precarious territory.

Man City would be the one Premier League club able to throw such eye-watering sums towards Real Madrid, but with David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne and even Phil Foden, the English champions are surely too stacked?

Wildcard: Tottenham Hotspur

Christian Eriksen is reportedly stalling over a new contract amid intense interest from overseas, with Real Madrid one possible destination having been fervent admirers of the Danish playmaker for some years now.

Should the club table an offer then Spurs could ask for a possible swap deal involving Isco, it would be the perfect like-for-like transfer that could favour both parties.

Conversely, the north London club could go one better.

Mauricio Pochettino has also been perennially linked with a move to the Bernabeu himself, and with no new signings over the summer, this could be the perfect opportunity for Daniel Levy to appease his Argentine miracle worker: if he does not want Pochettino to go to Real Madrid, then bring Real Madrid to him. Isco and Eriksen would be terrifying in the same side.

Squawka Suggests: Liverpool

Make no mistake, Liverpool have far from faltered since their former talisman parted Anfield. In fact, if anything, the Reds have drastically improved their game since Philippe Coutinho departed 13 months ago. But there have been one or two chinks in their attacking armoury this season.

Last campaign, the Merseyside club were simply mesmeric in the final third, with their sensational trident pulling all the creative strings; this season, they have been defensively formidable, but have sometimes lacked the same cutting edge that famously thwarted Man City in the Champions League semi-final.

A player in the mould of Isco would just add that extra dimension back into the club’s attack. At present, Jurgen Klopp does not possess a traditional No.10 – Adam Lallana is far too injury prone – and so Isco offers a fantastic opportunity to inject fresh impetus. When you consider how Mario Gotze and Shinji Kagawa flourished under the tutelage of Klopp whilst playing in a similar role, a potential partnership with Isco becomes even more exciting.