It was an unexpected run for Costa Rica in the 2014 World Cup and goalkeeper Keylor Navas was largely responsible. It was almost enough to put the Ticos into the final four of the tournament, a place no CONCACAF team has ever ventured. Navas was already the most wanted goalkeeper in the upcoming summer transfer window. The quality he showed in the World Cup will just add to the staggering number of transfer offers his club team Levante are receiving.
Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto called Navas the best keeper in the world following the performance against the Netherlands. CONCACAF keepers Tim Howard, Memo Ochoa and Navas all had stellar performances in the World Cup, but Costa Rica only gave up two goals in the entire competition. This is due in part to a defense that was in sync and the consistency from the keeper. Navas was credited with seven saves and drew one foul on Saturday.
Navas has been the subject of transfer rumors since before his season with Levante ended. Levante was the fifth best defensive side in Spain last season. He had a stellar season in La Liga and his performance in Costa Rica’s five matches in the World Cap solidified him as one of the best keepers in the world. Against Greece, Navas was a key ingredient in getting the match to penalty kicks. The one stop he made against Theofanis Gekas in the kicks gave the Ticos one more match.
Benfica and FC Porto have long been the favorites to sign Navas as the rivals battle for his services. An offer of just over $4 million and players from FC Porto was already rejected. The clause price on Navas is nearly $13.5 million, although nearly half that would likely be considered by Levante. However, with Navas’ stock rising, Levante are pushing hard for the full buyout.
A bid by Atlético Madrid was also rejected by Levante president Quico Catalán. With Thibaut Courtois set to return to Chelsea, Atlético are looking for a long-term replacement. Navas helped Levante pull a late-season 2-0 victory over Atlético that put into doubt the eventual champion’s outcome. The offer was said to be $8.15 million and Brazilian forward Léo Baptistão.
The latest suitor is a peculiar one in Bayern Munich. Pep Guardiola is looking to strengthen his core behind Manuel Neuer. Bayern Munich sporting director Michael Reschke has indicated that a formal offer is on its way in a matter of days. More than likely Navas will be looking for a club that allows him to start while Levante will be looking for the highest amount of money. Regardless, now that Bayern have entered the fray, Levante will surely field as many offers as possible to increase the likelihood of a $13.5 million bid.
Sevilla is also said to be in the race. Real Madrid have been speculatively linked. There will be more offers coming in and it is likely that Navas leaves Levante. The keeper is a hot commodity on the transfer market and rightly so.