The big question doing the goalkeeping gossip columns of late is who will eventually replace Iker Casillas at Real Madrid and Victor Valdes at Barcelona? Will their replacement come from within Spain or elsewhere in the European sporting Union?
Casillas has been the number one keeper with the Spanish giants until he was benched by Manager Jose Mourinho in favour of Antonio Adan back in late December. Casillas and Mourinho have been tight-lipped preferring to put the team changes down to a need for technical changes.
Casillas stated that: “Throughout the week I could sense that I wasn’t going to play but it’s not a setback,” he added. “The important thing was that the team won in Malaga to cut the gap to Barça and Atletico. Mourinho didn’t explain anything to me. He doesn’t do it when I play, nor when I don’t.”
All the talk aside, Casillas doesn’t appear happy at being benched for the first time in a decade and the irony of his inclusion in the FIFA Ballon D’or World X1 must have left a little egg on the face of “The Special One” in what is looking like his final season at the Bernabeu.
Will Casillas look to greener pastures in the EPL or wait until the dust settles at Real after a new manager is appointed? Given that his form has not been at its best, there is a real chance that the club will look at bringing in a fresh signing. Manchester United’s and Spanish national David De Gea has been linked to a move to Real, but arch rivals Barcelona also have him in their sites to replace Victor Valdes.
The two hottest properties in Spanish goalkeeping vying for positions with Real Madrid and Barcelona are De Gea and Valencia’s Vicente Guaita.
Lets look at both and decide who is the best option in replacing the likes of Casillas and Valdes.
David De Gea is firming as the favourite to move to Barcelona but given he is a Madrid local, then if the money is right he may find himself moving to Real in the summer. Despite his small frame De Gea has always battled criticism since joining the Red Devils but his form certainly warrants his number one keeper status at the club. In the 2011-12 season De Gea finished the season with the best saves to shots ratio in the Premier League. The move to Barca would also seem the obvious choice as United could agree on a smoother swap deal in acquiring Victor Valdes.
Vincente Guaita is the other name popping up in transfer talk across the cyber-world. He’s been linked with a possible move to Arsenal, but with all the speculation surrounding Casillas and Valdez, he may choose the easier path of remaining in his more familiar La Liga. He’s currently contracted with Valencia until mid 2015, so doesn’t need to move immediately. To date he’s recorded only two games this season behind Diego Alves due to a serious hand injury suffered in November 2011. There are far more questions than answers and will be considered a risky purchase given his limited game time.
One thing is for certain the speculation is rife as always during January and given Pep Guardiola’s signed at Bayern Munich, then there will be more questions rather than answers on when or if Mourinho will make a return to the English Premier League. My tip is De Gea will win the League with United and stay with the champions if favour of a move to Spain and Casillas will remain at Real for the time being, but all will depend on Mourinyo’s movements. Never a dull moment in January!