Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas has joined Paris Saint-Germain, it was confirmed on Monday, with Alphonse Areola moving in the opposite direction on loan.
News of the switch came from PSG, who confirmed both moves ahead of the transfer deadline:
Paris Saint-Germain @PSG_English
🆕 @AreolaOfficiel joins @realmadriden until 30th June 2020. ✍️ The 26-year-old shotstopper, capped three times for France, is under contract with Paris Saint-Germain until 2023. The loan deal with Real Madrid does not include a purchase option. https://t.co/2J9UNb5aXJ
Navas arrived at Madrid from Levante in 2014 as a deputy to Iker Casillas and has gone on to become one of the most successful goalkeepers of his generation.
In his time at Real, he won the UEFA Champions League on three occasions, establishing himself in the competition during Zinedine Zidane's first spell as manager. Navas was also excellent in the 2016-17 season, when Madrid added a La Liga title to their European success.
Navas' position came in for scrutiny in the summer of 2018, when Madrid moved to sign Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea. The Costa Rica international only made 10 starts in La Liga as a result despite Courtois struggling for form in the campaign.
Zidane had previously depended on Navas and said ahead of this transfer that he didn't want the keeper to leave, per Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC.
Corrigan also noted Navas was unable to secure a first-team berth despite impressing in pre-season:
Per WhoScored.com, in a difficult 2018-19 season, Los Blancos' record was much better with the 32-year-old between the sticks:
Madrid will be pleased they have at least been able to secure a fine replacement for Navas in the form of Areola.
The France international has earned a reputation as one of Ligue 1's most dependable keepers. Last season he was in regular competition for a starting spot with Gianluigi Buffon, who has since departed to return to Juventus.
French football journalist Jeremy Smith said he rates the 26-year-old, although he believes PSG are getting a good deal in Navas:
Navas will be remembered fondly at Madrid. Not only was he prolific in terms of trophy-winning, he arrived at the club to help transition away from Casillas and helped that process go smoother than any Madridista would have imagined.
The pressure will now be on Courtois to improve his performances from last season, as his displays were lacking consistency and authority. While Zidane no longer has Navas to provide high-class competition and cover, Areola is good enough to keep the Belgian on his toes.