The 27-year-old added to his burgeoning reputation with another highly impressive performance for Costa Rica in a penalty shootout defeat to Netherlands in Salvador on SaturdayBy Liam Twomey
Keylor Navas approached Costa Rica's first ever World Cup quarter-final appearance against Netherlands in Salvador on Saturday with the chance to cement his status as the most impressive goalkeeper at the tournament.
Faced by the likes of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, Navas knew that only another heroic performance would give his team a chance of pulling off a monumental upset.
Goal examines how he did and what the future holds for this rapidly rising talent...
|PERFORMANCE AGAINST NETHERLANDS
Facing the World Cup's joint-highest scorers with history beckoning was always going to be a difficult assignment but Navas duly rose to the challenge.
The Levante goalkeeper only conceded one goal from open play in this tournament and at Arena Fonte Nova it was easy to see why. He made two excellent stops to deny Van Persie from point-blank range either side of half-time and also showed great agility to soar to his right and parry a superb Sneijder free kick away from the top corner.
Luck also played its part - Sneijder had Navas scrambling twice, only to be denied by the woodwork, while Van Persie saw a goalbound effort deflected onto the crossbar by a covering Yeltsin Tejeda on the line.
Navas could not save any of Netherlands' four superb penalties in the shootout, despite going the right way for Van Persie and Dirk Kuyt's efforts, but his general contribution was in keeping with a superb tournament run.
|HE'D BE PERFECT FOR...
None of the Premier League's top clubs are actively seeking a new No.1 goalkeeper this summer but, based on his performances over the past 18 months, Navas could reasonably be considered an upgrade on their current options by everyone except Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham.
Much depends on how far Joe Hart's season of struggles has eroded Manuel Pellegrini's confidence in him, whether Arsene Wenger believes Wojciech Szczesny can ever develop the consistency to match his confidence and whether Brendan Rodgers remains convinced that Simon Mignolet is an elite goalkeeper. If Tottenham lose Hugo Lloris this summer, they could do far worse than turn their attentions to the Levante man.
Navas has superb reflexes, solid distribution and a largely reliable command of his penalty area. He also appears to have excellent concentration - a key feature of any successful goalkeeper in a top team.
|WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Navas has put himself in a very desirable shop window with his heroic World Cup performances.
At 27 he remains quite young in goalkeeping terms and, with a buyout clause of just under £8 million at Levante, he also appears extremely good value on his current career trajectory.
Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid are currently leading the chase as they search for a permanent replacement to the Chelsea-bound Thibaut Courtois but their opening offer of £4.75m plus Brazilian striker Leo Baptistao was rejected emphatically by Levante, who are holding out for his release clause.
"€6m [£4.75m] plus Leo Baptistao is not €10m [£8m]," club president Quico Catalan told Cadena SER. "Keylor is having a great World Cup and many clubs, foreign and Spanish, have shown their interest."
Most expect Atletico to return with an improved bid but, with his newfound international profile and tempting buyout clause, it is hard to envision them being the only ones.
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