Transfer windows always bring frenzied and chaotic decisions to the forefront. In a World Cup summer that will be exacerbated. It won’t be helped by the Premier League and Serie A’s decisions to shorten their transfer windows to the start of their respective seasons.
While a logical decision, it will rush clubs into finishing their business as soon as possible. It will also inevitably have a knock-on effect on other leagues across the continent. The goalkeeping round-about looks to be one of those chain reactions this summers.
Central to this is likely to be Jan Oblak. The Atletico keeper has firmly established himself as one of the best in the world, with his recent displays in the Europa League semi-final versus Arsenal an example of his abilities.
He virtually won his side the game, and it is no wonder that many clubs would be interested in his services.
Paris Saint-Germain could well desire Oblak to take over from Alphonse Areola and Kevin Trapp, neither of whom are world-class. Given Atletico’s finances, they would surely accept a high sum (and/or Edinson Cavani, rumoured recently, who would fit Simeone perfectly).
PSG could also be interested in Gianluigi Donnarumma, for whom Mino Raiola never rests. Milan would not have the money to spend big on a replacement regardless, but the Italian teenager could be an option for the Parisians.
Arsenal and Liverpool would also love Oblak, but it is a tad more difficult for them. David Ospina has proven to be underwhelming and should be on his way out while Petr Cech is in his twilight.
But finances are tight, and Oblak would be out of their budget. For Liverpool, Loris Karius has been improving in recent weeks, but a goalkeeper may still be on their wish list.
Liverpool have also been linked with Roma’s Alisson, who’s been excellent for the Italians this season. Likely to be the Brazil No 1 this summer, Alisson would be as pivotal an addition as any, but the price tag would be a concern yet again.
The papers also link them with young Ukrainian Andriy Lunin, who has impressed for Zorya Luhansk but could benefit with a move to a club of lesser stature in the big leagues.
Arsenal meanwhile may be interested in Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno, who remains a solid keeper approaching his prime. Talks with Napoli have reportedly broken down, and it seems like Leno would be a better option, cost-wise for Arsenal.
Napoli could then look at Jasper Cillessen, disillusioned Barcelona No 2 to the imperious Marc-Andre ter Stegen, or Sociedad’s Geronimo Rulli, to replace the outgoing Pepe Reina.
Amongst the big clubs, only City look content with Ederson. Juventus look set to pass the retiring Gianluigi Buffon’s reigns to Wojciech Szczesny, who Arsenal would regret selling.
Bayern Munich have the returning Manuel Neuer, for whom Sven Ulreich did a solid covering job. Dortmund are replacing back-up retiring keeper Roman Weidenfeller with free agent Marwin Hitz to challenge Roman Burki.
But there remains another potential major round-about. Real Madrid (or Perez) have never been fully convinced with Keylor Navas. A fax machine stopped David de Gea, arguably the best in the world, from joining.
Whether they go back in for de Gea, this summer is worth seeing even if United would loath to sell. If they do, United would be in the race for Oblak too. And so would Chelsea if Thibaut Courtois made the move instead.
There are many players in this goalkeeping Russian roulette, except that there is not too much time for teams to blink. It’s likely to be Real Madrid or PSG, teams with a desire for a world-class keeper. That could set the dominoes going.
Crucially, the World Cup could throw other names into the mix, like it did with Levante’s Navas in 2014. The summer is set to be exciting; whether it will underwhelm is yet to be known. But there are plenty of factors in play. If there is chaos, expect keepers to play some part in it.
Which keeper do you expect to make the move this summer? Let us know in the comments section below.