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Analysis: Who should Real Madrid sign to replace the injured

Real Madrid was hit with surprising news on Thursday as they learned that Thibaut Courtois had suffered a serious ACL injury, which is expected to keep him sidelined for the entire 2023–24 season.

Analysis: Who should Real Madrid sign to replace the injured Thibaut Courtois?

Real Madrid was hit with surprising news on Thursday as they learned that Thibaut Courtois had suffered a serious ACL injury, which is expected to keep him sidelined for the entire 2023–24 season. Courtois, a crucial player for the team, has been the undisputed starting goalkeeper since his transfer from Chelsea. This unfortunate development prompted Real Madrid to actively seek a replacement, as coach Carlo Ancelotti decided not to rely on Andriy Lunin, who was initially considered for the position.

For the upcoming match against Athletic Club on Saturday, Lunin is expected to be in the starting lineup. However, the club is keen on securing a reliable goalkeeper for the subsequent weekend. To address this need, Real Madrid has compiled a list of five potential candidates for the role of the new number one.

One prominent name on the shortlist is David De Gea. The former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper is currently without a club after failing to secure a new contract with Manchester United. Reports suggest that talks have already taken place between De Gea and Real Madrid. While De Gea could offer a short-term and cost-effective solution, there are concerns about his recent performance decline, which might make him a less optimal choice for the team.

Another candidate is Yassine Bounou, often referred to as Bono. Ancelotti appears to favour the Moroccan international, who enjoyed a successful 2022–23 season with both club and country. Despite his strong attributes, Bono is expected to leave Sevilla due to limited playing time under coach Jose Luis Mendilibar. Acquiring Bono would likely require a significant fee of €20 million, potentially raising questions about investing heavily in a goalkeeper for just one season.

Kepa Arrizabalaga, a former Athletic Club goalkeeper, could be another option. With Chelsea’s acquisition of Robert Sanchez, Kepa’s availability has increased. However, doubts surrounding his abilities and the potential financial demands for a transfer might make this choice less viable for Real Madrid.

Giorgi Mamardashvili, a rising star from Valencia, is also considered. Despite his promising performance as Valencia’s number one, his age (22) raises concerns about him joining Real Madrid, where he might spend significant time on the bench. Given Courtois’s long-term presence at the club, it may not be a sensible move for Mamardashvili to opt for a one-season stint as a backup.

Dominik Livakovic, who has excelled at Dinamo Zagreb, completes the list. While a move to a top league seems inevitable for Livakovic, joining Real Madrid as a backup may not align with his aspirations. However, if he’s comfortable with the role, the club could benefit from his skills as a considerable upgrade over Lunin.

In light of Courtois’s anticipated return from injury the following summer, Real Madrid’s decision on a new goalkeeper hinges on factors such as short-term needs, financial considerations, and the candidates’ willingness to accept backup positions. The team’s goalkeeping options will significantly impact their performance, making the selection process crucial for maintaining their competitive edge.

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